Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Nordic gods still around: great rare plant nurseries of the world...

Peter Korn
(all photos in this post by by Jan Fahs)
 I suppose there are people who haven't yet heard of Peter Korn: no one in the rock garden world can have missed this phenomenon who has burst upon the scene internationally. I couldn't resist arriving a few days ahead of "Nerd Day" (Peter's annual spring symposium staged in the nearby village) to enjoy his hospitality and check out his nursery...

As a botanic gardener, I am basically a frustrated nurseryman. For me, visiting rock garden and rare plant nurseries has been a lifetime mission: I have sought out dozens in obscure corners of America and Europe (and even a few in South Africa). These have been the holy grails of my professional career: the Siskiyou Rare Plant Nurseries, Heronswoods, Annie's Annuals, Plant Delights, Far Reaches Farms to name a few of the better known ones...Peter Korn's is a fine one to add to this list...with a twist! We'll get to that in a minute, but first...the bulb house...

Tecophilaea cyanocrocus
In another blog posting we will take a closer look at wide variety of goodies in this house, but who can resist the stunning blue of Chilean blue "crocus"? Not a bad display, I would think...the label is correct on the other side, incidentally...

Pulsatilla vernalis in gorgeous backlight

 Thousands of plants in pots are waiting for customers--I wish it were not so difficult to transport things to the USA, otherwise, I'd take this pot of pasqueflowers for sure!

Glimpse of the pond at the base of Peter Korn's garden

Here's "the twist" I was alluding to: in addition to being a full-scale nursery operation, Peter Korn's garden is a bonus: five acres of utter extravaganza. If you've haven't had the pleasure of hearing his incredible presentation on how he went about transforming a dense woodland into this magical alpine garden (removing countless metric tons of fill in the process and creating these enchanting vistas) you must find a way of attending one of Peter's lectures: I can assure you that you will be stunned by his energy and vision!
Pulsatilla halleri
 Of course, the dazzling vistas are more than complemented by these charming vignettes--this wooly pasqueflower was one of many that caught Jan's eye.

Another view of some of the screes that Peter created---resembling terminal moraines of a an imaginary glacier.

Peter has three of the most enchanting cats imaginable: this one lapping water at the creek-side was irresistible...

Cardamine glanduligera
 A patch of cress opening its first flowers.

One of the many troughs here, full of saxifrages coming into bloom....

I should have expected as much, but of course, our Nordic godly host is also a gourmet cook: we were astonished to watch him put this repast together in record time last evening.
I am not sure how or when, but somehow in his spare time Peter wrote an account of his garden filled with wonderful pictures, describing some of the thousands of plants that he grows. I have reviewed this elsewhere, but this  contemporaryclassic is surely the 21st Century update of Reginald Farrer's The Rock Garden....and it will be out in English in another two weeks or so! (although I'm glad I own the Swedish version, although I shall have to cheat and read the English version to comprehend much beyond the Latin Names...)
He's planning a trip to Turkey this summer, then the the USA in October (he's speaking at the Scott Arboretum's Perennial symposium mid October--so you Easterners had better put it on your calendar...) It's not every day you get to watch a living, breathing Nordic deity perform.


  1. Love the Pulsatilla halleri...that fur coat is quite fetching!

  2. Even the 'Balsamorhiza' label is impressing.

  3. You had me at the blue crocus! Thanks for the fun tour.

  4. The 'Pulsatilla halleri' is lovely. Great tour!

  5. Thanks for the introduction to Peter Korn, just in time for the arrival of the English version of his book. I doubt there's anyone more energetic than nurserymen and women.


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