The picture above was taken on Pikes Peak a few years ago--Kurt with a bristlecone pine: hard to tell which one had more character!
And here he's strolling through an alpine meadow on the Flattops, not far from where I was born.
Kurt achieved an enormous amount in his long, rich lifetime: creating a monumental wholesale and mail order nursery that pioneered not only grasses, but a vast number of perennials. It was Bluemel's nursery that provided many of the plants that fueled the work of Ohme and Van Sweden in Washington D.C., transforming our Nation's capitol into a showcase of native plants and dramatic perennial beauty.
Kurt was one of a handful of nurserymen who started the Perennial Plant Association, which more than any other group helped sustain the sudden enthusiasm for perennials in the 1980's--transforming the "boom" into an integral part of our gardening culture. He has been a pillar of the American Horticulture Society--chairing their board, and inspiring their staff and members.
But for the many professionals like myself, what impressed us even more than his amazing entrepeneurial drive and manifest business acumen was his zest for life, his enormous appetite for friendship, action and horticulture! He and his band of Ratzeputz explorer friends combed the world's mountains for plants, for fun, for learning.
Kurt would look at you with that wry smile of his, with a cocked eye drilling into your very soul, he'd chuckle and nudge you, and with his gravelly voice would let you know that you were OK, the world was your oyster--go for it!