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This is an older picture of Scott (younger), but the best I have at the moment.

Oh NO! That was my first reaction when I saw that my new Old House Gardens catalog included an announcement that founder/owner of the company Scott Kunst was retiring after the fall/spring shipping season.

Madame Sophie is a more graceful double.

For some years, though I have never met him, I’ve felt that Scott was right there with me whenever I took a chance on forcing an iffy exotic bulb or ordered a ridiculous amount of hyacinths and tazettas that I’d only use once. I enjoy reading his enewsletter, follow the company’s Facebook page, and find the website to be a fantastic source of bulb knowledge and lore. The beautiful catalog, filled with opinionated descriptions, is a keeper. (I’ve always been a fall customer, as I don’t have the right sunny spaces for the dahlias and so on offered in spring.) OHG can be counted on to have beautiful heirloom hyacinths I’ve been unable to get elsewhere, like the double Madame Sophie and Hollyhock. There are also some fabulous tazettas like Erlicheer and Grand Primo that I always point to when people complain about paperwhite scent. (Brent and Beckys also has an excellent selection of these—I wish more people would look beyond Ziva.)

Retiring! I thought he was a young guy! Who retires? The very thought of it fills me with dread. But apparently, he’s been at this for almost twenty-five years and didn’t start the company until he was forty. I guess it can be an exhausting biz. The employees of OHG are purchasing the company and continuing its great work. I wish them well and will continue to put in ridiculously extravagant orders (as I do with 3 or 4 other bulb companies). It’s one of my few luxuries. I’ll also be checking in with Scott soon, to get his thoughts on the state of bulb-growing today and what he’s actually going to do next (other than “resting”). Here’s an interview I did in 2008.

Posted by

Elizabeth Licata
on September 1, 2016 at 12:02 pm, in the category Unusually Clever People.

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