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Blue Orchid and Big Tree

Concocting a cheerful indifference to extremes of heat and hunger, tropical fever, shipwreck, disappointment or sudden death: the Victorian plant hunter is an almost mythical figure. Now, in Blue Orchid, Big Tree, two best-selling authors explore the dangerous world of William and Thomas Lobb, English brothers born in obscurity who became our greatest plant hunters, and whose precious legacy lives on in our landscape and in our parks and gardens. William Lobb (1809-1864) collected in South America and western North America and Thomas Lobb (1817-1894) traveled through south-east Asia and India. Together they put in a total of almost 30 years traveling and collecting, often in barely explored regions. Their travels and adventures are full of drama, trial and tribulation. The Blue Orchid (Vanda coerulea) was collected in the Khasia hills of India from under the nose of Kew collector, Joseph Hooker, who regarded Thomas Lobb as a mere "garden boy" until he beat him home with this beautiful and valuable addition to the orchid world. William Lobb discovered the "Big Tree" or Wellingtonia (Sequoiadendrn giganteum) on the Pacific coast of California and rushed home with sacks of seeds which made the Veitch nursery huge profits. Contents: 1 Childhood in Cornwall; 2 A Plant Nursery in Devon; 3 The Far Side of the World: William in South America 1840-1844; 4 The Other Side of the World: Thomas in south-east Asia 1843-1847; 5 Business in the Glasshouses; 6 Patagonian Treasure: William in Chile and Peru 1845-1848; 7 Blue Orchid: Thomas in India and south-east Asia 1848-1853; 8 Big Tree: William in Pacific north-west America 1849-1853; 9 The Royal Exotic; 10 Last Orders: Thomas in Java and Borneo 1854-1857. William in California 1853-; 11 Journey's End Thomas in Burma, Borneo & Philippines. 1858-1860; 12 Growing Lobb Plants Today; Bibliography.
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