Sunday, August 16, 2009

A descriptive felicity

The garden writer and plant collector Reginald Farrer had a profound effect on English gardening by popularizing plants that thrived in high places. Now Nicola Shulman has published a short biography of him which includes this very pleasurable evocation of his character. Farrer, she writes, was "touchy, reproachful, extremely demanding, painfully solipsistic, disposed to view the rest of the world as a deficient source of comfort. This made him wretched most of the time, but it also allowed him to sympathize to an unusual degree with the exigent requirements of alpine plants."

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