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Karen Strohbeen  

The Perennial Gardener with Karen Strohbeen, PBS

Karen has been a lifelong artist and has worked as a painter, printmaker, sculptor, ceramist and television producer. Bill Luchsinger is a printmaker, concentrating mostly on digital printmaking, sculptor, filmmaker and television producer.In 1975, Bill and Karen reacquainted themselves with each other when they both took part in an artist's workshop at their alma mater, Drake University. They eventually married in 1977.

Since then they have continued to make their art individually, and together they work in their gardens and produce gardening videos. Their artwork is in private and corporate collections around the world. In 1996 they received the Garden Club of America's Eloise Payne Luquer Medal for special achievement in the field of botany. This year, Bill (along with noted English horticulturist Penelope Hobhouse) was made a Member at Large by the Garden Club of America.

Karen and Bill began to work on a series of videos focusing on the subject of hardy flowering plants with their partner in the venture, Blue Bird Nursery of Clarkson, Nebraska. HARDY FLOWERING PLANTS, a four-volume set, was released in 1990 for use by universities, trade schools and nurseries in the training of students and personnel. The programs were widely distributed and are still in extensive use throughout the U.S.

The couple has lived on an 80-acre farm in southwest Iowa for 18 years. Karen and Bill make art in both their studio and gardens. About ten years ago they asked themselves, "If something in the garden is beautiful, does it matter if no one sees it?" The answer, they decided, was, "Yes, it does matter." So began their efforts to capture and share the beauty of their gardens on video, resulting in the series.

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