Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wolfgang Oehme: 1930-2011

Wolfgang Oehme, one of the most influential and brilliant plantsman of the last century, passed away today. 

Wolfgang, along with his business partner James van Sweden, created the New American Garden, a strikingly original alternative to the traditional suburban yard. 

Wolfgang was a personal mentor to me and many, many others.  What was even more impressive than his brilliant and evocative plantings was his generosity of spirit and joy in the landscape.  I plan to write a fuller remembrance of Wolfgang soon.  If you knew Wolfgang and want to post a message for him, his official website is collecting those messages.


  1. A great man. We owe them both for showing us there are alternatives to lawn and fence. You are a lucky man.

  2. I had always wished to know more about him, other than snippets in magazines and various other publications. The man himself. I do know I owe much that I know and believe to him and the milieu he came out of. That, more specifically, the Inula racemosa 'Sonnenspeer' doing a slow dance around my garden came through some second, third, fourth hand recommendation from Wolfgang Oehme. You're a fortunate man to have known and worked with him.

  3. Hi Chris and James,

    I was indeed fortunate to know Wolfgang and see his process of creation. The apprenticeship I got was invaluable, and I owe that to his (and others) generosity and creativity. I'm so heartened when I hear other people who knew him or are simply fans of his work. His gardens are like no others.

    Appreciate your comments, as always.

  4. Thomas, thank you for posting this. I never knew the man, only admire his talent, but a great mind has been lost to this world. My heart goes out to those that grieve his passing.

  5. Wow, so very sad to wake up to this...he was a great influence in garden design.

  6. Thomas, I was sorry to hear of the passing of Wolfgang Oehme. I have had the opportunity to see some of his work first-hand. You were very fortunate to have worked with him. The photograph you chose was perfect. As one loses one's mentors, the student becomes the teacher. I see that happening with you and what you bring to us through your blog.

  7. Sad news to read. We are all grateful for the energy, vitality and originality of his designs and plantings. He will be missed.


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