From North American Rock Garden Society Quarterly, Summer 2012
Kim Blaxland’s death at the end of 2011 was announced in the last issue and although her work on violets generally, and North American violets in particular, was known to the few it had not perhaps had the attention it deserved. This issue goes some little way towards rectifying that with an appreciation by John Watson of the role that Kim had in the work on the rosulate violas of South America, and with her husband Chris’s introduction to Kim’s own text and photographs of one of the most attractive of all North American species: Viola pedata. It will immediately become apparent that Kim’s work is in the finest tradition of botany: the quality of her observation shining through both her written comments and her beautiful drawings.
The photograph on page 219 of Kim at work, photographing Viola umbraticola in Arizona, shows the patience with which she worked, the faithful Nikon, the special tripod and camera brackets she used, but also her continued loyalty to 35 mm film as a medium. And, in a similar way, her work on her drawings using a digitizing drawing tablet demonstrates the same perfectionism. I hope to be able to publish some more of Kim’s own work in the future and, as John Watson mentions, to publish further on the South American violas, about which there is still much to be told, with the naming of one in Kim’s memory as part of that story.