Ciscoe Morris headlines Edmonds Hardware & Paint’s 5th anniversary celebration

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It’s been five years since Edmonds Hardware and Paint opened in the upper level of Old Milltown. Partner Tom invited the community to help him celebrate with a presentation Saturday by local gardening celebrity Ciscoe Morris.

By the time Ciscoe began speaking, the store’s small space had filled to capacity with more than 50 eager fans. And more kept arriving, keeping Tom busy bringing out extra folding chairs. But in the end he ran out of chairs and space, and it was standing room only.

Ciscoe regaled the crowd with stories, beginning with why he always says “Oh la la!” (it stems from a visit to France when he and wife Mary stayed in some very cramped quarters shared with scores of other tourists sleeping on one very large mattress — Oh la la!). That was followed by anecdotes from his early days caring for the grounds at Seattle University to becoming a beloved local gardening celebrity.

Along the way, he posed several of what he called his “Ciscoe garden stumper questions,” designed to give “fits of anxiety” to his audiences. Those who answered correctly received prizes, ranging from Fiskars garden tools to gift certificates for framing services. Sample from today: Would you rather be a male or female hummingbird? Answer: male, because the entire workload of nest-building, food foraging and rearing of young falls to the female, and all the male does is defend territory and mate. “A much better job!” said Ciscoe.

Between anecdotes and stumper questions, Ciscoe fielded inquiries from the audience on their particular gardening issues, offering expert advice on everything from growing tulips to getting rid of yucca plants to controlling dandelions with vinegar (“nothing works better,” he promises).

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

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