John and Vivian Korfhage worked on homes, lawns and gardens together, and in 1985, they decided to test their green thumb in the field of marriage.
John and Vivian Korfhage are proof that it’s all coming up roses, and after 26 years of marriage, the only thing Vivian can complain about is the deer eating her daffodils planted by John – of course.
How did you meet?
Vivian, who was working at a local bank, was in charge of the grounds and when it came time to hire landscapers she knew exactly who to call – Korfhage Landscape & Designs.
“I was in charge of the inside, and he did the outside,” Vivian said.
“And that’s how it’s been ever since,” John added. “We worked many years together and finally decided we were a perfect match,” John said.
How did he propose?
“Well we had been dating for three years; it was getting closer to December and there are tax advantages to being married so we just decided why not?” John joked as he sent a loving wink in Vivian’s direction. Vivian has had lots of practice with John’s skillful punch line deliveries because she never got more worked up than an eye roll.
“We didn’t want a formal church wedding – we wanted to have a party. I had a friend who was a judge – he married us, we invited our friends out to Wakefield-Scearce Galleries in Shelbyville and had one big party,” John said.
How do you make it work on a day-to-day basis?
“I keep a steady supply of roses in bloom for Vivian to cut and bring inside and that’s the key to success,” said John with a hardy laugh.
“We each have our own career,” John added. “I think you have to be happy and find joy in what you do then you don’t depend on the other person to supply all the happiness.
“I’m excited about the work I do and Vivian is excited about the work she does. She is proud of what I do and I’m proud of what she does. We go our separate ways during the day and get together at night and I look forward to seeing her – it’s great.”
“I travel quite a bit, too,” Vivian said, adding her own little witty humor.
Do you have a system for dividing up household chores?
“I do the washing and take them to the ironing lady,” John said.
“He means the cleaners,” added an amused Vivian.
Do you collaborate on your landscaping at home?
“We’ve worked on several houses together where I was designing the inside and John would do the landscaping,” Vivian said.
“That’s the way we work here at the house as well,” John added. “Vivian will say what she thinks we ought to do and the answer is always “˜yes!’ because I like what she does and am very pleased with the results and she is reasonably pleased with what I do outside.”
You keep so many lawns looking great. How do you stay on top of yours?
“Sometimes it takes awhile for me to get around to ours,” John admitted.
“So what I have to do is plan for someone to come over or tell him I’m having a big dinner party and give him a deadline,” Vivian said. “That works!”
Is there anything you always do as a couple?
“We cook together; we love it,” John said.
“He’s a great cook!” Vivian agreed.
“We also go to the movies at least one night of the weekend,” Vivian said.
“Collecting,” Vivian added, “we love collecting antiques, fine china, glassware you name it.”
“I collect knives and Vivian collects clothes,” John said.
Where do you get inspiration for your landscape designs?
The couple enjoys traveling. From Europe to Peru, John and Vivian appreciate the flavor of other countries, and John gets inspiration for his beautiful landscape architecture designs.
“Vivian plans the trip and I pay for it,” John said with a laugh.
“I’m always looking for new hubs of inspiration,” he said. “I take pictures of everything when we travel and look for new settings that have not been seen yet in Louisville.
“We’ll go see the most beautiful historic buildings and gardens, and I will think there will be a time where that comes in handy, and every year I try to incorporate one of those unique plans in my landscape design,” he said.
Where do you like to go when you’re out “˜n’ about?
“We enjoy entertaining and throwing dinner parties,” Vivian said.
“Even though I am a graduate of UK, it is too far to drive to Lexington, so I have adapted going to U of L games with Vivian,” John said.
In all seriousness, Korfhage did the landscape design for the Billy Minardi basketball dorms and is a strong supporter of the University of Louisville.
What advice do you have for other couple’s who desire to walk through life in tandem?
“Let everyone be themselves,” John said.
“Don’t try to change the other person and be sure to enjoy each other’s company,” Vivian added.
“I don’t have to go to the movies or dinner with another couple. I’m quite happy with just me and Vivian,” John said. “We think alike and truly appreciate our time together.”
Dec. 7, 1985.
A blended family, John has two children, Fred and Amy, from his first marriage, and Vivian has two from hers as well, Christopher and Melissa.
The couple resides on a sprawling plot of land, which provides plenty of inspiration for John’s landscape designs.
Cats or Cards
John is a graduate of UK while Vivian is a proud U of L graduate.
“The only game I can’t fully support the Cards is when they play the Cats,” John said.
John is running the same business his grandfather started, Korfhage Landscape & Design. Vivian, is the national purchasing manager for Chase Bank.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Voice-Tribune Staff Writer Lauren DePaso enjoys being a tourist in her own city, exploring the nightlife and cheering on the Cards. A Louisville native, she currently resides in St. Matthews.