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Wolfgang Oehme (1930-2011)

Wolfgang Oehme was a renowned landscape architect whose designs transformed the American landscape scene.

Born in Chemnitz, Germany in 1930, he received his degree in Landscape Architecture at the Technical University of Berlin. He arrived in the U.S. in 1957 and, unable to find the plants he needed to create his landscape designs, he began working with horticulturists and nurseries to produce the unique perennials and grasses which would become an integral part of his design signature.

Mr. Oehme created public parks and commercial, institutional and residential gardens all over the United States and in Germany. His designs were bold, sweeping and revolutionary. He established the landscape architecture practice of WOCO Organic Gardens, LLC with Carol Oppenheimer in 2008 after leaving the Washington, DC landscape architecture firm, Oehme, Van Sweden and Associates, of which he was a founding partner.

Mr. Oehme was a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects. He was a recipient of the Robert White Medal of Honor (2002), the Landscape Design Award (American Horticultural Society, 1992), the Distinguished Service Award (Perennial Plant Association, 1987) and numerous other awards.

He coauthored the book Bold Romantic Gardens and is the subject of Ornamental Grasses, Wolfgang Oehme and the New American Garden, by Stefan Leppert. He is the subject of two German documentary films and his work has been published in countless books, magazines and newspapers. In September of 2011, he received awards from Rutgers University and the Longhouse Reserve in the Hamptons, New York.

Mr. Oehme had a deep love for his work and creation which continued until his death in December 2011. His final WOCO design project, with Carol Oppenheimer, was The Butterfly Walk at Calvert School which was installed in September 2011.

In October of that year he travelled to his beloved Germany where he and his partner Carol presented a lecture to the Gartenakademie of Sachsen Anhalt. On that trip, Wolfgang was able to meet with many of his close friends and travelled to his magnificent parks including the Allianz Versicherungen project in Magdeburg which he had designed with German landscape architect Petra Pelz and his garden at the Goitzsche Park in his hometown of Bitterfeld.

The video clip we share with you was filmed by Landscape Architect Liza Vasilkova during Wolfgang's last visit to the gardens at Calvert School. The gardens there filled him with joy and pride.