Kurt Bluemel, Rest in Peace

Kurt Bluemel, Panicum Warrior
Kurt Bluemel, Panicum Warrior

Sorry to deliver sad news. Kurt Bluemel Der Gras König — The King of Grasses — died yesterday evening after a brief illness. The Baldwin MD plantsman and humanitarian was 81.

Kurt was extraordinarily artistic, tireless, demanding, resilient, charismatic, enormously successful and generous.

No one loved life quite like Kurt. The lion sleep’s tonight.

Allen Bush sent me that message this morning. He had flown to Baltimore to see Kurt one last time but arrived an hour after he died. Allen has returned to Louisville and will have more about this extraordinary man, a good friend of his, next week.

I barely knew Kurt but I did get to visit his garden once.  A few of my favorites views below.



Grass borderLarge
This last shot reveals new plantings being added and I’d love to see what it looks like now, many years later. Hope Allen has some photos for us.


  1. I spent the day with him at his nursery; I was writing an article on bamboo for the 2006 August/September issue of Chesapeake Home magazine (see link). I have never forgotten that day. Kurt spent an enormous amount of time with me, was respectful and courteous, and drove me around in a golf cart explaining different types of bamboo. As a horticulturist, it was intellectually stimulating and as a journalist, it was nice to be respected by someone so famous in the field – he really contributed to our gardening world.

  2. We as greenjournalists must write on time over all this special persons who have influenced our view on gardening. In Holland at the moment the Dutch wave pioniers are aging too….

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