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Purdom and Farrer represents the first in-depth biographical study of the life of the often forgotten plant hunter William Purdom and estate owner Reginald Farrer. Both men were born in 1880, the year of the death of Robert Fortune, and came from completely different social standings. Purdom was the eldest son of the head gardener of a property-owning businessman in the Lake District. Farrer, on the other hand, was the first scion of landed gentry who owned a huge estate in the Yorkshire Dales.
Despite their vastly contrasting backgrounds, their common interest in alpine flowers, brought them together in an expedition to hunt for new plants for British gardens on the mountain slopes where the eaves of China meets the roof of Tibet.
Both died young; Farrer on the rain-soaked border hills of Burma in 1920, Purdom in Peking a year later. However, in our gardens, their legacy of beautiful plants, some bearing their names, will remain alive always.