Alpine plants Gardening Rock gardens

Death of a Horticultural Pioneer

Harvey Wrightman (1949-2016)

I’ve just learned of the death of Harvey Wrightman on December 9, 2016. He was the founder and owner of Wrightman Alpines, originally located in Ontario, but recently moved to New Brunswick.

Ever since it was founded 30 years ago, his nursery was one of the top sources of alpine and rock garden perennials and shrubs in North America, the place you went to buy anything unusual. He introduced scores of species and cultivars to the gardening world and regularly invited alpine specialists from Europe to give lectures and courses on the latest plants and techniques. It was essentially Harvey who brought crevice gardening to the attention of gardeners in the New World, for example.

Although I ordered several times from Wrightman Alpines over the years, I only ever met Harvey once, introducing myself to him after a lecture he gave at the National Home Show in Toronto some 20 years ago, but he was a charming and knowledgeable man, always ready to share his passion with others.

Harvey’s daughter Esther Wrightman will be maintaining the nursery and has written a touching testimonial to her father. You can read it at

You know, I never did get around to visiting the Wrightman Alpines nursery. Perhaps that’s something I should look into!

Garden writer and blogger, author of more than 60 gardening books, the laidback gardener, Larry Hodgson, lives and gardens in Quebec City, Canada. The Laidback Gardener blog offers more than 2,500 articles to passionate home gardeners, always with the goal of demystifying gardening and making it easier for even novice gardeners. If you have a gardening question, enter it in Search: the answer is probably already there!

3 comments on “Death of a Horticultural Pioneer

  1. Margaret Gauthier

    I have known Harvey since I was a baby. Harvey and his family were close friends to my family and I spent many a day at his farm outside of Kerwood, playing with his children. He was a good man and will be sorely missed.

  2. Touching tribute. If only more parent and child relationships were as wonderful as the one described. May he be at peace, and she have plant success in the future.

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