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!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

3 comments on “Death of a Horticultural Pioneer

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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