History of the 'Kohli' garden


A much slimmer Chris Chadwell minus the grey hair holding an Aquilegia on 'the mound' in the front section of his parents small town garden on the outskirts of Slough in the summer of 1983, prior to the Kashmir Botanical Expedition he was about to lead.  His father's front garden had consisted of just lawn, when they bought the house in 1980. A neighbour was having an extension built a couple of years later, so one day when his Dad was at work, Chris used a wheel-barrow to collect some of the bricks and rubble, which he dumped in the middle of the lawn.  His father nearly had a heart attack when he got home, demanding that Chris do something.  The thinking behind the bricks & rubble was to, with the aid of sand and grit, produce conditions of good 'drainage' (or more accurately, aeration), which would be advantageous when attempting to cultivate plants originating in the more arid parts of the Himalaya (the borderlands with Tibet). Chris had graduated in the summer of 1980, missing out on his graduation ceremony to join the University of Southampton's Ladakh Expedition.  After a short spell in the police, Chris became leader of a team surveying riverside vegetation in Wales 1982-3.  Earlier he had obtained plants from Langley Garden Centre, where he worked at weekends as a salesman, in their then 'Tree & Shrub' department as well as being a part-time jobbing gardener and volunteer numeracy tutor.

At this time the garden had hardly any Himalayan plants. He bought a birch tree from the 'Tree & Shrub' department of the garden centre he worked at, that was supposedly Betula jacquemontii but turned out to just be a white-barked form of a North American Betula - he has discovered over the following decades that a significant proportion of plants in cultivation under Himalayan names are impostors.  Gradually, Chris was able to replace all the non-Himalayan specimens in the garden with ones genuinely originating in the Himalaya.

Shortly after the 'mound' was first added to the front section of the garden, looking bare and open

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