LOUISVILLE, Ky. (November 2003) Oldham Countians celebrated
their history and those who work to preserve it Oct. 17 during the
second annual fundraising gala for the Oldham County Historical Society
at The Olmstead in Louisville.
by Don Ward
left, Bob Hill & Paul Cappellio.
A group of 230 people attended the $100-a-plate dinner, where awards
presented to family members of the late Theodore Klein for his horticulture
work at Yew Dell Gardens in Crestwood, Ky. Klein, who was married
to Martha Lee Sageser, died in 1998.
Marian Klein Koehler of Crestwood accepted the societys Champion
of Oldham County History Award on behalf of the family. Historical
Society board president Kim Snell presented her with a sketch of the
Oldham County History Center, drawn by artist Carol Jones. Other family
members present included Jules and Karl Klein of Crestwood, and daughter
Joyce, now of Atlanta.
A self-taught horticulturalist, Klein was internationally known for
his breakthrough work of propagating trees, shrubs and plants on his
200-acre farm. He was also accomplished in wood carving, masonry and
ironworking. One of the founding members of the historical society,
Kleins interest in history joined his legendary horticulture
skills when he and friend Stanley LeMaster placed hundreds of historic
trees across the country and in other countries.
An accomplished photographer, he amassed a collection of thousands
of slides of gardens and plant specimens from around the world.
The Klein family purchased the original 33-acre farm in 1940 and later
expanded it to 200-plus acres, naming it Yew Dell. Today, it is being
preserved as a public garden by the nonprofit Yew Dell Gardens Inc.,
made up of dedicated friends and volunteers. Although tours can be
arranged, the gardens are expected to officially open to the public
by Don Ward
Klein Koehler accepts award.
Paul Cappiello, former horticulture director of Bernheim Arboretum
and Research Forest in Clermont, Ky., now serves as director of Yew
Dell Gardens. He, along with Louisville Courier-Journal columnist
Bob Hill and a noted gardener himself, presented a slide show of Yew
Dell as part of the program. Both were friends of the late Klein and
consider him a mentor.
Hill joked, If God wanted to plant a tree, hed call Theodore
first and ask for directions. He was such an amazing presence.
Cappiello said Klein revolutionized the industry with his experimentations.
He was a plant geek of the first order. He was always looking
for that one plant that had potential to make the world a more beautiful
Klein was noted for his many varieties of holly plants, which he introduced
around the country. Hollies are now in the top 10 of shrubs grown
commercially in the eastern United States, Cappiello said. Jules Klein
donated holly plants to the board to be passed out to those in attendance.
by Mike Hayman
late Theodore Klein.
Perhaps just as impressive was the former pool house that Klein converted
into a residence. The Cotswold style house looks like a castle and
is built from creek stone with a slate roof.
Mary Broecker was recognized for her community volunteerism and honorary
chair of the gala.
The Champion of Oldham County History Award was conceived by the societys
board to honor a person or group who have demonstrated a sincere interest
in the countys history and a desire and effort to preserve that
history for future generations.
Snell announced that the historical society plans to return to The
Olmstead again next year. Snell announced that the historical society
plans to return to The Olmstead again next year. He also announced
a new Korean War exhibit that is being planned at the museum and requested
that anyone with memorabilia to contact director Anita Fritz about
donating items. She can be reached at (502) 222-0826.
For more information about Yew Dell Gardens Inc., call president
Mary Rounsavall at (502) 241-4788. Or visit the website: www.yewdellgardens.org.