Theodore Klein Plant Awards

One of the greatest plantsman our state had ever known was a gentleman from Oldham County by the name of Theodore Klein.  Here is a brief description of Mr. Klein pulled of Yew Dell gardens webpage:

A Brief History Beginning with 33-acres of Oldham County farmland in 1941, Theodore and Martha Lee Klein spent the next 60-plus years developing an exquisite private estate, a successful commercial nursery and an extensive collection of unusual plants and outstanding gardens. Known locally, nationally and internationally as a first-rate plantsman, Theodore Klein was also a self-taught artisan who personally crafted the buildings and gardens that became known as Yew Dell.

Through the years, Klein collected over one thousand unusual specimen trees and shrubs which were displayed and evaluated in his arboretum. He also worked to develop new plant varieties for the regional landscape, amassing an impressive list of more than 60 unique introductions over his professional career.

Almost immediately following Klein’s death in 1998, development pressures began to threaten the property, which had been zoned industrial. Recognizing the unique attributes of Yew Dell, a board of community volunteers raised the funds to purchase the property, and then began the longer term plan to restore Yew Dell Gardens and share its treasures with the public. The unique nature of the property was further recognized by The Garden Conservancy, a national non-profit dedicated to saving America’s most unique gardens. The Conservancy named Yew Dell a Preservation Project, at the time one of only nine such projects in the nation. In 2002, the Garden Conservancy authored Yew Dell’s stabilization plan, which describes the historical background and design significance of the many unique gardens and landscape features on the property. The stabilization plan has assisted Yew Dell board and staff in prioritizing the rehabilitation work done to date and continues to offer valuable assistance for future projects.

Yew Dell Gardens has now emerged as a thriving botanical garden with local, national and international reach. With over 1200 members and 250 volunteers, the gardens serve as a major center of gardening, research and education for the greater Louisville region. Collaborative projects and programs have been developed with the American Horticultural Society, Horticulture Magazine, Magnolia Society International, 21st Century Parks, and many others. The grounds are open throughout the year and offer an ambitious schedule of classes, workshops, community events and seasonal festivals.

In honor of Mr. Klein a plant award program was started in 1995 and has been making five selection a year since then of that the selection committee deems worthy.  This week I am going to give you some information on the selections.  For more information on the awards and to see the winners of the past go HERE.

Cornus florida ‘Appalachian Spring’ – Appalachian Spring Dogwood

‘Appalachian Spring’ is a new selection that was introduced as the most disease-resistant cultivar on the market today.  Michael Dirr is quoted as saying ‘The lone worthy Discula survivor collected in the Catoctin Mountains, Maryland; displayed high resistance, not immunity in screening studies.”  Classic white spring blooms, bight red fall fruit and red/orange fall foliage combine to make the perfect package.  Plant in rich, moist soil in partial shade.  This is really a spectacular selection that has done very well in gardens I have installed here in Central KY.  Come back tomorrow and we will look at an extremely underused pine; the Lacebark Pine or Pinus bungeana.

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1 Comment

Filed under Dogwoods, Theodore Klein Plant Awards

One response to “Theodore Klein Plant Awards

  1. I just love Cornus florida, and this one looks really beautiful, but I have been hesitant to plant it in our Zone 6 after Bill Cullina (the native plant expert) told me in a class that these just don’t don’t do well anymore in our neck of the woods. They tend to get anthracnose apparently. However, this season a nursery in CT which sells Cornus florida ‘Cloud 9’ basically told me that wasn’t true. I could really use a p. shade understory small tree ….does anyone have experience to share?

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