Category Archives: Theodore Klein Plant Awards

Pinus bungeana: Lacebark Pine

Theodore Klein Awards: Day #2

Pinus bungeana – Lacebark Pine

This exquisite Japanese species offers fine evergreen texture on an upright oval form to 20-30’ tall. The usually multi-trunked plants offer stunning exfoliating bark of deep green, cream, copper and olive (right). This is an excellent specimen plant for full sun or partial shade in rich, moist soils. A truly incredible cultivar was selected from a planting at the Dawes Arboretum, Newark, Ohio and has been relaeased as ‘Silver Ghost’ (below) to describe its bright white bark that is visible from a long distance away.

I was first introduced to this wonderful and underused plant while working for Don Shadow.  He has a wonderful specimen to the front of his office.  I had never seen nor heard of it before and was captivated by its tight upright growth it has before it matures and starts to open up.  This is a fantastic plant to try and for an evergreen has some of the most interesting exfoliating bark I have ever seen.

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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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