Nursery owner Kurt Bluemel died of cancer on June 4 at age 81. The Maryland-based wholesale grower propagated and popularized ornamental grasses and was a known as the Grass King.
A resident of Baldwin, Md., Bluemel had nurseries in Baldwin and Crisfield, Md., and a third in Orlando, Fla.
Bluemel is a native of what is now the Czech Republic, and he started his career as a plants apprentice in Switzerland. There he gained a knowledge of Alpine perennials and ornamental grasses.
He came to Baltimore County to work for a commercial perennial grower he had met in Switzerland. Family members said he carried his first grasses from Europe in a suitcase.
In addition to his wife of 38 years, Hannah, survivors include a daughter, Catherine Bluemel Betz; a stepson, Erik Weinstock; a stepdaughter, Kirsten Forte; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A son, Andre Bluemel, died in 1976.
Source: The Baltimore Sun