P.Kohli & Co. (India)

Chadwell Seeds operated between 1984 and 2016 in association with P.Kohli & Co., which had been established in 1928 by Prem Nath Kohli.  Mrs Suri, one of Kohli's daughters, initially assisted her father and by the 1980s was proprietor.  I first met Mrs Suri during my Botanical Expedition to Kashmir in 1983 and P.N.Kohli, who despite having lost his sight, still worked at his Park Road Office near Neelam Theatre, Srinagar, Kashmir.  When I returned to Kashmir in 1985, her home in Srinagar became my base - as it was for subsequent visits to the Himalaya (at least until a terrible event took place).  Without such a sanctuary from the challenges India presents, along with friendliness shown by family members, I doubt if Chadwell Seeds would have lasted beyond its early years.  Furthermore, there was also the matter of the firm's export license (which was reconfirmed in recent years), permitting seed from the Himalaya to be exported for subsequent use by Chris Chadwell (Chadwell Seeds).  I have, over the decades, received seed of Himalayan plants from other sources in India (such as Madan Tamang, Narsim and others) - though P.Kohli & Co. was the main one.

In light of ever-increasing rules and regulations, which Chadwell Seeds/Chris Chadwell rightly was OBLIGED to abide by, further inquiries were made to CONFIRM that Chris could continue receive seed from P.Kohli & Co.  It has not proven possible to confirm this (despite efforts on my behalf in India).  This, combined with serious health issues for both myself and Mrs Suri (who has almost lost her eye-sight) mean that it was not feasible to continue our association over 3 decades.  As I know of no other current sources of seed from the Himalaya and my sources from other countries, particularly Japan, have also ended (due to old age of the supplier) then this is the END of Chadwell Seeds.  What a pity.

P.Kohli & Co.'s gardeners who work at the remaining nursery - they had more land prior to a family member being killed by militants - who have to be supervised regularly, charming though they may be....; there is nobody left to do this, so a tradition dating back to the 1920s is likely to end


Take the Nagoya Protocol.  Had this been in place decades ago, the botanical aspects of the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION to LADAKH 1980 (my first to the region) are UNLIKELY to have been authorised (in time). Not, I hasten to add because there would have been objections to what we proposed to do but that it was be impractical for such an undergraduate expedition to complete the necessary "paper-work" in time (bureaucracy often stifles or even prevents so many worthwhile projects/initiatives).  Unless I had participated in that 1980 expedition, in all probability I would NEVER have even visited the Himalaya let alone DEDICATED MY LIFE TO THE STUDY OF ITS FLORA.....

 I have certainly never been able to afford an organised trek to enjoy the flowers in the Himalaya - the cost of which typically runs to £3000 (or more these days). Indeed, upon reflection and bearing in mind that I have always operated off a shoe-string budget (often in a precarious financial situation), in many ways it would have been "better" had I never been to the Himalaya.... A close relative of mine once observed, "You have NOTHING but it does not bother you".  Materially, yes, almost "nothing".   Hopefully, others might disagree with me having "nothing"..... and now it seems, certain individuals seem determined to  DESTROY my reputation.  I am dismayed but powerless.   I am fortunate indeed, to live in Britain, with its National Health Service and rail network, which I use to travel around the country to deliver my lectures.  I haver never had a car, which represents a significant saving.  Neither do I have a mobile phone.  During my lecture tours in North American, Americans cannot believe this!  What a weird and eccentric person I am - though entirely forgivable in a Brit.....

Over the years, for short periods, I was able to offer seed from a few other parts of the world.  In most cases the people involved have now either passed away or no longer offer seed.  I am occasionally approached by other India firms offering seed (with some Himalayan items) but question their reliability and in most cases, integrity.  P.Kohli & Co., has been outstanding, setting an example for others to follow.  Prem Nath Kohli was an exceptional man - scrupulously honest and reliable. He rightly enjoyed a fine reputation and should be acknowledged internationally.   I owe them both a considerable debt and am proud of having been associated with them - it seems certain individuals wish to damage their reputation as well.

Just what is going on?

For more information about Prem Nath Kohli, see: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/main/introduction

Letter from Sir Clive (Later Lord) Wigram, Private Secretary to King George V, complimenting Bernard Coventry, Conservator of Forests for Kashmir, for an outstanding consignment of plants seeds and bulbs sent on behalf of the Maharajah of Kashmir in 1927.  Wigram considered that only a very skilful and scientific botanist such as Coventry could have made such a collection but it was in fact Prem Nath Kohli - then a forest department ranger who was assigned the task of collecting material of garden-worthy Kashmir plants for The Royal Parks and gardens (though it was his senior officer,  who took the credit, whilst merely sitting in his office - as was typical in those days).

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List of bulbs and roots of Himalayan bulbous plants grown at P.Kohli & Co.'s nursery in Kashmir (Kohli supplied his bulbs from cultivated material, NOT wild collected, setting an example not followed in other parts of the world e.g. Turkey, for almost 50 years!  Indeed Kohli was raising concerns about CONSERVATION, long before it became POPULAR to do so.

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Article by P.N.Kohli about bulbous plants from Kashmir suitable for growing in rock-gardens

Article about Lilium regale by P.N.Kohli - published the year Chris Chadwell was born

For more background to the remarkable Kohli, see: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/main/the-royal-connection

Perhaps those reading it will wonder as to the motivation for ANYONE to suggest P.Kohli &Co., is in anyway 'dodgy' !?

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