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Yew Dell Gardens

Yew Dell Gardens began with 33 acres of Oldham County farmland in 1941. Theodore and Martha Lee Klein spent the next 60-plus years developing an exquisite private estate, a successful commercial nursery, and an extensive collection of unusual plants and outstanding gardens. Known locally, nationally, and internationally as a first-rate plantsman, Theodore was also a self-taught artisan who personally crafted the buildings and gardens that became known as Yew Dell.

Through the years, Klein collected more than 1,000 unusual specimen trees and shrubs for display and evaluation in his arboretum. He also worked to develop new plant varieties for the regional landscape, amassing an impressive list of more than 60 unique introductions over his professional career.

After his death in 1998, a board of community volunteers raised funds to purchase the property, then initiated a long-term plan to restore Yew Dell Gardens and share its treasures with the public. The unique nature of the property was further recognized by the Garden Conservancy, a national nonprofit dedicated to saving America’s most distinctive gardens. The conservancy named Yew Dell a Preservation Project and continues to offer assistance for projects there.

Program 126
Making Louisville more bicycle-friendly; Ms. Wheelchair Kentucky; Yew Dell Gardens; the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival; and an interview with Heather Weston Bell, executive director of the Governor’s School for the Arts. (#126)