Hard work pays off with dazzling displays

By Paul Archipley | Aug 01, 2013

As many an enthusiast can attest, there’s nothing quite so satisfying as a garden well tended.

Edmonds’ gardener Don Miller knows as well as anyone. His garden, hidden behind his home above Olympic View Drive, is a testament to many, dedicated hours of hard work since he retired 15 years ago.

Miller puts five to six hours of work into his garden. Every day.

He admits he has slowed down a bit. “I don’t have the ‘get up and go’ like I used to,” he said.

It’s understandable. Don Miller is 91.

But the beauty, depth and breadth of his garden would tax the energy of a gardener half his age.

Several pathways guide a visitor through different “zones” – a “meadow” of dahlias in the sun, a fern “forest” in the shade, hanging baskets along a fence. Daffodils, tulips, tiger lilies, geraniums, fuchsias and so much more offer dazzling displays for the senses.

Miller said he has 69 varieties of hostas, 125 dahlias, untold varieties of lilies. There’s rarely a month go by that he doesn’t have color in his garden.

He admits to lots of trial and error.

“I raise them in pots, then – if they don’t fail – put them in the ground,” Miller said. He adds, matter-of-factly, “I don’t have too many failures.”

He has participated in various groups and activities over the years, such as the Edmonds in Bloom garden tour, and doesn’t mind visitors, but he doesn’t go out of his way to show off his hard work.

“I don’t mind people coming, but it can get to be a problem,” he confided.

Before he retired from the office products division of Boise Cascade, he raised vegetables in his spare time, and raised three daughters along the way.

Near retirement 17 years ago, he and his wife built a new home next door to their previous house, and he started planning his new garden.

Now widowed, he cherishes his time in the garden. There’s always plenty to do.

“Sure I get tired,” Miller said. “I’m always under the gun, because there’s always another weed to pull.”

But he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I love getting out here,” he said. “I look forward to it every day.”

It shows.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.