AmericanHort recognizes industry pioneer Ernest Wertheim

AmericanHort recognizes industry pioneer Ernest Wertheim

AmericanHort released a video with Ernest Wertheim, a passionate industry advocate and business owner for over 75 years.

October 16, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- During Cultivate’17, AmericanHort sat down with Ernest Wertheim, a passionate industry advocate and business owner for over 75 years. 

Hear from Wertheim on a few thoughts on his journey through the industry over the past 75 years in this interview. To contribute to the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) endowment Wertheim established honoring his long-time business partner, Jack Klemeyer, please visit or contact Jennifer Gray at 614-884-1155 or

Wertheim opened a landscape architect firm in 1940 and has been a mainstay in the industry ever since. That design firm, now known as Wertheim, van der Ploeg, & Klemeyer, has been engaged in the design of residential, commercial, institutional, and public architectural and landscape architectural work in the United States and abroad. WVK is internationally known for its work in garden center and retail nursery design and space planning, with clients in 40 states, Canada, England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Italy.

Wertheim’s experiences, insights, and ability to see opportunities in this industry continue to set the bar for all horticulture professionals. We were fortunate to welcome Wertheim to another Cultivate and hear about his life and some of his accomplishments firsthand.

At 97 years old, Wertheim has done so much to further the success of the green industry, especially the retail sector. Wertheim was a speaker at innumerable conferences and workshops over many decades where he gave his expert advice to multiple generations of retail businesses. His keen sense of business coupled with his knowledge of national and international trends were well known and respected. Even today, Wertheim travels to industry events to learn, share, and educate others. Now, we celebrate him.

Wertheim recently joined AmericanHort at the Horticultural Research Institute Summer Reception, in part to honor his longtime business partner Jack Klemeyer. As Wertheim explained, his success and time in the limelight would not have been possible without Klemeyer’s diligent and talented contributions behind the scenes. Wertheim expressed the hope that his donation in Klemeyer’s honor may result in a lasting recognition of their nearly career-long partnership. 

Endowed gifts to HRI are an investment in the industry’s future success. Donations to an established endowment help create an enduring legacy that will benefit the industry in perpetuity. The principal of your donation is invested and the earnings are used to fund research or scholarships.

Thanks to generous philanthropy and strategic investments, HRI’s endowment now totals more than $11 million and boasts over 170 named funds from individuals, businesses, and organizations.