Several correspondents emailed me today to tell me that Jim Archibald died yesterday. I know and admire many people, but none more than I admired Jim. I respected and loved Jim with a sort of unalloyed quality hard to describe. Jim could be harsh (especially in the famous forwards to his catalog): and I loved it. He could be many things. I somehow approved and enjoyed everything he did. The three weeks we spent together in Africa are a highlight of my life. I treasure our too few visits in America and Britain. I think he was the greatest plant explorer ever, and the greatest plantsman in the world.
I am despondent that I will never again have the opportunity to hear that nasal Edinburgh twang, nor watch that pipe point demonstratively. I will miss the zingers and the thoughtful circumlocutions and the always wise observations and the zest for people and plants. Oh Jim! I will miss you.
Thank God my garden is full of treasures Jim and Jenny brought back from around the world. Like Campanula trogerae (above) and dozens of other Turkish, Greek and Spanish treasures.
O Captain, my captain. You've left us much too soon.