Kurt Bluemel: Master gardener of ornamental grasses.
"Mr. Grass." That’s the way that many horticulturists refer to Kurt Bluemel. It is an apt nickname for a man who has been instrumental in bringing a remarkable variety of ornamental grasses to the attention of American gardeners and landscapers.
When Kurt emigrated from his home in Europe to the United States over forty years ago, many of the grasses and perennials he was familiar with were impossible to find here. Before long, the grasses and perennials that he introduced to this country were being adopted enthusiastically by landscape designers which in turn created more demand.
Once considered "exotic," many of the plants that Kurt introduced – including ornamental grasses, sedums and hellebores – have since become standards in America, thanks largely to his enthusiastic championing of them.
In an interview published in The American Gardener, the journal of the American Horticultural Society, Kurt said, "I think my contribution as a person and through my nursery was to open up a whole new avenue of thinking about perennials and how to use them in the garden."
Kurt served as chair of the board of directors of the American Horticultural Society from 2002 - 2004 and remains on the board as past chair.
He holds a strong belief that color and texture are essential elements in the landscape and that ornamental grasses fill that need. Thanks in large part to Kurt’s leadership; more and more homeowners are embracing ornamental grasses as groundcover and turf replacements as well as in containers.
From his nursery in Baldwin, MD, he has developed and supplied plants for major landscaping projects throughout North America, including Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.