On the Hunt for the King of the Alps

In The Lone Oak Press book Mimpish Squinnies (sold out) we focused on fourteen plants that British plant explorer Reginald Farrer (1880–1920) disliked with a passion. In this second Farrer book, we join Reginald on a journey to the Alps in his quest to see in situ one of his most beloved alpine plants, Eritrichium nanum, also known as The King of the Alps. Farrer was a British plantsman, plant explorer, and prolific writer who was one of the first to promote rock gardening and alpine plants. Eritrichium nanum is one of the most sought after plants for the rock garden because the blue of the flower is purported to be one of the most pure and beautiful blues of any flower. It is also one of the most difficult to grow. Farrer’s writing can be very acerbic, humorous, personal, and idiosyncratic. His description of trekking into the Alps to find this plant is pure Farrer, written by a man who doesn’t like to walk and who fairly swoons when he sees something of beauty.

This 32-page book measures 6.5 × 11 inches and was printed in an edition of 60 copies with 42 regular and 14 deluxe for sale. Set in 14-point Monotype Van Dijck by Michael and Winifred Bixler and illustrated with seven multi-block color engravings by Abigail Rorer. The typography is by Michael Russem, as is the printing of the text on Zerkall papers. The binding was designed by Daniel Gehnrich and carried out by Amy Borezo of Shelter Bookworks. The Regular Edition is bound in faux stone paper with a leather spine in a clamshell case. Only two copies remain. The Deluxe Edition (sold out) comes in a special binding with an extra suite of prints, an original watercolor of the plant, a herbarium specimen sheet, and a short essay about attempting to grow Eritrichium nanum.

Regular edition: Sold out. Deluxe edition: Sold out.