A Plantsman in Nepal
Antique Collectors' Club, 1995 - 291 pages
In 1971 a five man expedition journeyed through north-east Nepal in search of seed and plants. For over three months the team travelled with its Sherpa cooks, guides and porters in the rarefied air of the High Himalaya, at that time little explored, and some of the world's highest peaks - Mt. Everest, Makalu and Kangchenjunga - became part of everyday scenery as they marched north towards the border with Tibet. Camping each night on a high pasture, in a ravine, bog or forest, the team discovered an array of interesting and wonderful plants and made over 400 seed collections.
Many of the expedition's finds described are familiar in gardens in the west; many are less well known, but in both cases the author describes their garden potential and performance, often comparing a plant found in the wild, with the same species grown in cultivation. In many cases he discusses the history of the plants, and the plantsmen of old who first introduced them.
As with his previous magnum opus, Travels in China - A Plantsman's Paradise, Roy Lancaster's powers of observation are not restricted to plants and trees; he also describes with great vigour the team's many adventures, the hilarious parties with Tibetan villagers, the birds and animals encountered, the difficulties and delights of employing and travelling with the guides and porters, as well as the resourcefulness, hospitality, charm and day-to-day life of the Nepalese.
The account of the expedition was first published in 1981 and this much enlarged new edition, together with updated nomenclature and an additional chapter on a subsequent visit to Nepal by the author, is accompanied by some 270 colour and 70 black and white illustrations, the vast majority taken by the author himself. It will be irresistible to all gardeners and plant lovers, whether of the armchair or active variety, and a constant source of reference for students, plant explorers and plant historians.
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Preface to New Edition
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