valeria_sh (valeria_sh) wrote in studio_satsuki,

Wolfgang Oehme and Kim Jung II

The horticulture world lost several outstanding plantsmen - Wolfgang Oehme among them, he has had an enormous impact on today's american gardening culture. I got the news from the papers and also from the newsletter of the nursery owner Toni Avent, who is quite an extraordinery plantsman himself. Besides, he is quite good with words. I was really taken by the following:
"Finally, the strangest of the plantsmen to pass away this month has to be North Korea’s Kim Jong Il...yes, you heard me right. The story goes back several years, when the late Dutch plant breeder Kees Sahin, who was friend of Kim’s dad, was visiting North Korea with Japanese plant breeder Motoderu Kamo. Kamo gave the elder Kim one his begonia hybrids, which was subsequently named Begonia ‘Kimjongilia’ for Kim Jong Il’s 46th birthday. Kim was so taken with the begonia, that he declared begonias the National Flower of North Korea. After supplying Kim with more begonia genetics, Kim Jong Il began what would become the largest begonia breeding project in the world. According to Kees, Kim would fly over his begonia fields in his helicopter and make his final selections from the air. At the time of Kim Jung Il’s death, there were sprawling greenhouse complexes all across North Korea, all for the purpose of housing Kim’s massive begonia collection. For international begonia shows, Kim would fly his prize begonia hybrids to the show with one person holding each begonia in the back of a cargo plane, to keep from damaging the plants. Also, according to Kees, Kim’s head begonia breeder became so renowned internationally, that Kim had him killed for upstaging the Dear Leader. As Dave Barry liked to say...I am not making this up!"
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Tags: kim jung ii, oehme
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