CHRIS CHADWELL - lecturer, botanist, specialist gardener and plant photographer
Freelance Lecturer with more than 30 years experience speaking to wide-variety of clubs and societies around the UK, 4 lecture tours in North America, one tour in New Zealand, plus presentations in India, France, Switzerland and Norway; Field-Botanist - leader of 24 botanical and plant hunting expeditions along the Himalaya; Co-Founder (in 1990) and Editor of the 'Himalayan Plant Association'; Proprietor of Chadwell Seeds 1984-2016; Travel & Plant Photographer; Research Scientist & Investigative journalist.
He continues his long-standing studies (begun in 1980) into Himalayan plants including those utilised in Tibetan Medicine; Currently preparing a series of photographic guides to genera in the Himalaya - starting with Primula, Androsace, Geranium, Iris, Clematis, Rhododendron, Saxifraga, Delphinium, Salvia (to be available as digital pdfs); he continues to offer a free service to identify Himalayan flowers (available to both foreigners undertaking treks and local botanists or local amateur plant enthusiasts); He has re-started his 'Digital Flora of the North-West Himalaya' (see: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/fowh/) - setting the standard & an example for others to follow (all round the world) as printed floras, regional and national, will increasingly become a thing of the past; advocate of digital photography as a means of revolutionising the identification of plants in the wild and cultivation (see: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/fowh/impatiens-1 which displays 46 images of the important characteristics of this species close-up, showing just what a modest digital camera can do, such that in time, these can become an indispensable tool for field-botanists, as a hand-lens currently is but with the huge advantage of providing a permanent record, which can be scrutinised and compared with other species subsequently - which, if adopted can transform the accuracy and reliability of plant identification. When Chris started taking a serious interest in plants, all one could afford to do was take one perhaps two general photos of each plant using slide film with the best close-ups he could manage using a macro-lens and tripod not bringing results remotely close to what can be achieved, with practise and effort, from today's digital cameras. Chris looks back with amusement, not that many years, when he was so reluctant to embrace digital photography, yet now is such an advocate, so can appreciate hesitancy ).
This web-site can be viewed and enjoyed at different levels (intensities). Use the Navigation Bar on the left to locate topics of interest. Why not, to start with, just relax by savouring images taken during Chris' travels - whether of wild flowers, gardens, scenery or local people in different parts of the world then.....
Chris beside the stunning SALVIA HIANS
...should you wish.. delve more deeply into the range of projects Chris Chadwell is involved with. He raises important issues regarding plant conservation not just in the region he specialises in i.e. the Himalaya but world-wide.... Critical thinking and objective perspectives are sorely needed on the internet, along with discussion of the real issues - not to mention the truth. Not everything is at it appears! As well as drawing your attention to problems in the Himalaya, Chris has solutions but cannot succeed alone. He has un-rivalled knowledge & expertise about the Himalaya and its flora but needs support and encouragement to continue his projects. For further details, see: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/main/how-can-you-help-chris-chadwell
Dhaulagiri - the 'White Mountain', Nepal Himalaya
Chris with Lamas (Buddhist monks) at a Monastery in 'Little Tibet' (Ladakh)
'West Himalayan Blue-poppy' (MECONOPSIS ACULEATA)
An assortment of 'Cobra-lily' (Arisaema spp.) seedlings
Looking for seed of more unusual plants? Why not join this society? Membership is free. Chris has decided, as of January 2017, to form this society, in part as a replacement for Chadwell Seeds, which he was Proprietor of from 1984-2016. In the past it was possible, legitimately, to obtain seed from the Himalaya (in association with P.Kohli & Co., established in 1928) and from Japan and other parts of the world. However, with ever-increasing rules, supplies of seed directly from the wild are increasingly difficult (to impossible) to obtain. So it makes sense to make best use of seed available from plants already in cultivation.
Yes, most specialist horticultural societies, large and small, operate some form of Seed Exchange whilst some Botanic Gardens have Index Semina and of course there are commercial sources of seed. So why is, yet another source of seed required? Not everyone can access such Index Semina but the main consideration is that there is a serious problem with most of these and almost all seed exchanges plus seed companies. Chris' informal research over a period of 30 years suggest that at least 50% of seed offered in such exchanges and from commercial sources under 'Himalayan' names, were misidentified. He suspects much the same, to a lesser (or even greater) extent, applies to seed from other regions of the world. The more obvious mistakes, are accepted, often with amusement but few appreciate the extent of the problem including the world's leading horticultural societies. I have tried to draw attention to this issue. How can one meaningfully 'conserve' plants in cultivation when a significant proportion are misidentified or for more genera than is realised, actually hybrids....
The expertise Chris has built up combined with his skills and knowledge enable him to assess the level of reliability of reference sources (printed and on-line) mean he is uniquely-placed to check the identification of the plants from which the seed comes. It is easy to search for images of any species on the internet these days but not all such images posted have been correctly identified. His existing reference images of Himalayan, British and North American specie taken in the wild and cultivation are invaluable. He can advise on how those in a position to donate seed can photograph the specimens when in flower in a way which will enable him to reliably identify them. Not everyone knows which parts of a plant must be photographed to arrive at an accurate identification or are able to take quality close-ups, in focus.
So do consider joining, donating seed to the society and accessing the genuine article, whilst having a one-to-one communication with Chris to help ensure the reliability of what you donate, along with tips about seed collection in your garden.
Chris has proven to be a popular and versatile public-speaker, having delivered hundreds of entertaining and informative lectures around the UK. His latest digital presentations appeal to garden clubs, specialist horticultural societies along with more general audiences such as National Trust Centres and U3A groups. He has undertaken lecture tours and speaking engagements in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, France, Ireland and India. Audiences now regularly remark that the images he shows at his lectures are amongst the best they have ever seen.
Why not suggest him as a speaker to a club or society you belong to?
section of this web-site for details of the topics he offers, his availability and fees)
Title slide of Chris Chadwell's digital presentation about Kashmir
Title slide of Chris Chadwell's digital presentation about Plant Introductions at National Trust Properties
Chris Chadwell delivering the key-note speech at the Kohli Commemorative Event in Delhi in 2009
Why not join and learn more about the cultivation, study and conservation of Himalayan flora? See:
NORTH-AMERICAN PLANT ASSOCIATION
Why not join and learn more about the cultivation, study and conservation of North American flora? See:
BRITISH PLANT ASSOCIATION
'Field Poppy' (Papaver rhoeas)
Why not join and learn more about the cultivation, study and conservation of British flora? See:
WHAT IS CHRIS/THIS WEB-SITE REALLY ABOUT?
TRYING TO BRING OUT THE BEST IN PEOPLE.....
CHRIS IS 'A FRIEND OF THE PEOPLES OF THE HIMALAYA' AND THE WORLD'S FLORA. THEY BOTH NEED A VOICE. NATURE CONSERVATION REMAINS IN ITS INFANCY IN TOO MANY REGIONS OF THE WORLD. INTERNATIONAL CONSERVATION BODIES NEED TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS IN THEIR APPROACH. BOTH LOCAL PEOPLE AND RARE FLORA ARE BEING "LET DOWN". THE PRESENT SITUATION IS UNSATISFACTORY AND CAN ONLY IMPROVE IF THIS IS FACED UP TO.... INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE NEEDS TO BE APPLIED. SHAME ON THOSE WHO IGNORE WHAT CHRIS IS DRAWING ATTENTION TO......
Chris discussing plants used in Tibetan medicine with a Lama (Buddhist monk) in Ladakh
Chris outside a trekking lodge in Nepal
The admirable sentiments above of India's first prime minister after Independence in 1947, inscribed below his statue in Manali, Himachal Pradesh. The world would be a better place if every nation and individual citizen in the world, adopted such a philosophy. How many Indian or foreign tourists passing by this statue, actually read it or appreciate the significance of the words? I wish to see India become MIGHTY as Nehru intended her to be, almost 70 years ago. Why not begin with a BETTER approach to studying Himalayan flora and its conservation? Why not actively take advantage of the expertise foreigners like Chris Chadwell have to offer? We ALL need to collaborate internationally.
Let me end with an image of a cute Nepali girl taken a few years ago (highly intelligent and full of enthusiasm for life - who was rightly unimpressed that whilst she could speak English, my Nepali was minimal) holding one of my business cards, whilst looking after her younger brother. Let us celebrate and help protect their charm and innocence. She and the people of Nepal deserve better in the future We can do "our bit" by making sure aid monies are spent more effectively than they have been in the past.... Why not find out more about the ways I and others try to "put something back" in the Himalaya? Take a look at the different sections of this web-site and then help me or directly support charities I can recommend - which are genuine. I can be trusted, as a person of integrity - the same, sadly, cannot be said for everyone 'pitching' to you on the internet....including some well-known figures and organisations you think you can trust!
BE 'STREET-WISE' AND SUPPORT THE BEST CHARITIES AND PROJECTS WHICH, AS THE BRITAIN-NEPAL MEDICAL TRUST STATES, HELPS
EMPOWER THE PEOPLES OF THE HIMALAYA.....
Namaste from the girl's younger brother - thanking all those who have made donations following the earthquakes in Nepal in 2015.
PHOTOGRAPHS ON THIS WEB-SITE
Please note that I currently do not 'water-mark' the photos on this web-site (or restrict their down-loading), for aesthetic reasons nor do they carry an individual copyright notice. BUT they are MY photos (unless indicated otherwise and for those named photographers, they are shown 'on my behalf'). It is my expectation that EVERYONE viewing images on this site agrees to abide by this relaxed, old-fashioned approach. Permission MUST still be sought from me at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to utilise any of them in ANY way. In most cases I shall agree. I always TRY and behave as a gentleman, treating people with respect and trust others will do likewise. A decidedly old-fashioned and perhaps somewhat naïve approach but I always try to set an example which others should adopt.
© Chris Chadwell 2017