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K-State Today

November 8, 2017



Co-owner of internationally acclaimed Belgium landscape architecture firm to visit K-State

By Cathie Lavis

Peter Wirtz, co-owner of the internationally acclaimed landscape architecture firm, Wirtz International, will visit the K-State Manhattan campus next week.

Wirtz will discuss the essential relationship between horticulture and landscape architecture at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, in Regnier Forum of Seaton Hall. All are welcome to attend Wirtz's presentation.

Wirtz International, located in Antwerp, Belgium, was founded by Wirtz's father, Jacques, in 1948, and for decades, trees, hedges, grasses and flowers have bent to the will of Jacques. Wirtz and his brother Martin now co-own the world-renowned company. Wirtz grew up in the family nursery and garden, familiarizing himself with orchids and Mediterranean plants, roses, Japanese cherries, hydrangeas, fruit and vegetables. Later, his personal passion grew to include health and salt resistant plants from the Chilean west coast, California, Florida, the Mediterranean coastal regions and the Atlantic west coast of Europe. Wirtz works on private, public, corporate, and institutional projects in Europe and America.

Many of the firm's landscapes, whether urban or rural, corporate or residential, feature strong forms of foliage plants.

"We are flower freaks ourselves," Wirtz said in reference to the strong forms of foliage plants. But, he says, if those flowering plants are incorrectly maintained, they become a drawback to the design.

"Restraining yourself to structural plants means a landscape will age better and be more gratifying," he said. 

In a Wirtz landscape, the clipped hedge, which for centuries symbolized formal Italian and French landscapes, is an exciting and organic form and use of plants.

This event is sponsored by the horticulture and natural resources department; George Terbovich Design Inc. in Kansas City; and the landscape architecture and regional & community planning department.