National Geographic : 1919 Jul
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE PLANT-COLLECTING CARAVAN EN ROUTE FOR THE WU TAI SHAN: CHINA Unlike the gold-diggers' caravans, the mules are not loaded with picks and shovels and panning outfits. They are carrying bales of the moss in which florists pack plants, sacks in which seeds are shipped, and driers in which botanists press leaves and flowers. It was with this kind of an equipment that Frank Meyer traveled many thousands of miles in the out of-the-way parts of Asia, looking for the relatives of our cultivated plants and others which could be grown somewhere in America and give pleasure and prosperity to millions. have gladdened his heart and made him realize in a tangible way what a great pioneer work he was doing. AN ENRICHER OF THE GARDENS OF TIHE WORLD To Meyer, plants appealed just as to some people dogs or horses do, and this intense interest made him pack his col lections with infinite patience, wrapping them in moss and Chinese oiled paper and burlap with his own hands before sending them by mail from some point in the interior of China to Washington. Meyer was a Hollander by birth and spent his childhood among the gardens of Amsterdam, rising through his own talents to be the assistant of Hugo de Vries. His passion for travel took him on foot across the Alps and into Italy to see the orange groves and vineyards of the Mediterranean, and later led him to explore America and northern Mexico on foot. This restlessness, combined with his love for plants, drew him to my at tention at a time when we were searching for some one who could travel over the roadless regions of China. Meyer's work has always 'seemed to have a peculiar fascination for magazine and newspaper writers, and numerous are the picturesque accounts of his "ex periences." Somehow, when I stand in an orchard and reach up into one of the trees and pick from its gray branches some of the large seedless persimmons which are the result of his work, I feel that he has left something more tangible, more inspiring, as a result of his travels, than is represented by the stories of mid night attempts on his life by ruffians in Harbin or threatened shootings by Chi nese soldiers in the Kansu Province, ex citing as those experiences were.