In the Land of the Blue Poppies
The Collected Plant-Hunting Writings of Frank Kingdon Ward
Publication Date: April 15, 2003
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A Modern Library Paperback Original
During the first years of the twentieth century, the British plant collector and explorer Frank Kingdon Ward went on twenty-four impossibly daring expeditions throughout Tibet, China, and Southeast Asia, in search of rare and elusive species of plants. He was responsible for the discovery of numerous varieties previously unknown in Europe and America, including the legendary Tibetan blue poppy, and the introduction of their seeds into the world’s gardens. Kingdon Ward’s accounts capture all the romance of his wildly adventurous expeditions, whether he was swinging across a bottomless gorge on a cable of twisted bamboo strands or clambering across a rocky scree in fear of an impending avalanche. Drawn from writings out of print for almost seventy-five years, this new collection, edited and introduced by professional horticulturalist and House & Garden columnist Tom Christopher, returns Kingdon Ward to his deserved place in the literature of discovery and the literature of the garden.
Frank Kingdon Ward was born in Manchester, England, in 1885. He was a professional plant collector and explorer for more than forty years and the author of more than twenty-five books, including The Riddle of the Tsangpo Gorges, recounting his journey into the world’s steepest river gorge. He died in 1958.
Michael Pollan is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Botany of Desire (available from Random House Trade Paperbacks) and Second Nature, named one of the best gardening books of the twentieth century by the American Horticultural Society. He is a contributing editor to Harper’s magazine and a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine.
“If there is a better writer about the garden than he, I do not know who that would be. . . . This collection . . . is a joyous event.” —from the Preface by Jamaica Kincaid