Dr. Winston Dunwell, Professor of Horticulture for Nursery Crops, was inducted into the Kentucky Nursery and Landscape Hall of Fame January 25, 2017 at the annual KNLA Spring Training Conference. Dunwell has worked with Kentucky’s nursery, arborist and landscape industry since he started at the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center at Princeton in 1979. He has also been awarded the Southern Nursery Association Researcher’s Conference Porter Henegar Memorial Award for Contributions to Environmental Horticulture Research and been named an International Plant Propagator’s Society Fellow: Eastern North America. He continues to find working with the green industry and his many colleagues rewarding and interesting. He and the UKREC Horticulture! Group, Dwight Wolfe, Dr. Zenaida Viloria, Daniel Becker, June Johnston and Ginny Travis, are working to integrate new technology into plant production; specifically soil moisture monitoring using sensors to wirelessly control irrigation systems. This year their focus is on production of blueberry plants and blueberry fruit production in containers with the PlantPoint irrigation control system.


Win Dunwell started with The University of Kentucky in 1979 as an Extension Horticulture Specialist for Nursery Crops housed at the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center at Princeton, Kentucky. His area of interest is developing educational programs related to sustainable ornamental plant introduction, propagation, production, pest management and utilization. He has developed the UKREC landscape into a small Botanic Garden for evaluation of ornamental plants. Dr. Dunwell established the Nursery Crops Development Center to carry out trials on cultivated and native plants with unique characteristics of special interest to the nursery/landscape industry and the gardening public. The goal of the Center is to increase the product mix at the nursery, increase the number of plants available for the landscape designer’s palette, and be useful in environment conservation and restoration.

A few fun facts about Win:

  • He wears a hardhat when boating at night
  • He has learned to balance his wine glass
  • He stays cool under pressure
  • He is a much loved and valued friend, mentor, father, husband, educator and researcher

I was on TV with Kelsey Driskol of Warren County when the back fake wall fell over on him. 

No injuries but sitting on the other side of him and seeing the wall tip and fall just as he was saying the final sentence “this is Kelsey Driskol —”.  So we redid it over and over because every time he got to “this is Kelsey Driskol” I would visualize the wall falling and break out laughing.  After several takes the cameraman moved the camera so he could focus on Kelsey and I just held my breathe until the red light indicating the camera was rolling went off and I was able to laugh again.  One of those you had to be there and love the old timers.  They wanted one take with no editing in those days.
Speaking of TV, I also did a show with Tom Curtsinger of Daviess County, and he would always forget or mispronounce my last name. Even several times in the same show say, “Well,  Dr. Dunlap what about planting your garden? Oh, Dr Dunvale is it too early for sweet corn?”  Of course I never took offence, and we are still dear friends.  Regrettably, dementia has struck and this year he missed the Fancy Farm Picnic for the first time in his 92 (?) years. Regrettably, the last time I spoke to him was on his 90th birthday, and his wife told me he wasn’t doing well mentally.
He is a renaissance man… besides being a knowledgeable horticulturist and plant geek, Win is knowledgeable in many fields such as literature, art, poetry, sailing, motorcycles, cooking, etc.

Well traveled…

Fellow of IPPS

He is a veteran and actively supports veterans through a variety of means, especially of the Vietnam War veterans.

One of my favorite stories to tell about Dr. Dunwell is the time we recorded a video on hand digging nursery stock. I found it amusing that we had the 26 year old (at the time) behind the camera with the 60 year old digging the hole. Dr. Dunwell had that tree out of the ground in less than 15 minutes. As if I weren’t amazed enough, he made the comment that his younger self would kick his butt for taking so long to get that tree out of the ground. To me, it goes to show age isn’t everything.

One morning, I came into the research farm to find the local power company cutting back the limbs on our row of red oaks (and doing a poor job of it at that). These limbs were nowhere NEAR the power lines. Needless to say, I wasn’t very happy about this. At the time, it seemed like a good idea to call Dr. Dunwell and let him know, as he had planted this row of trees some 30-odd years ago. I wasn’t there when Dr. Dunwell arrived and had a conversation with the boys from the power company, so I didn’t hear what he had to say. I DID hear him come into the building and go to our station director’s office and let him know that if there was a complaint from the power company about some angry old guy yelling at the workers, that it was him they were talking about.