An Edmonds garden party to remember

It was a garden party to end all garden parties, as more than 200 attendees gathered at the Edmonds Center for the Arts on Wednesday evening to help Edmonds in Bloom celebrate its 25th anniversary with food, fun and fancy prizes.

On hand was Ciscoe Morris, who recalled how he was first pulled into assisting with Edmonds in Bloom back in 1996 by then-club president Josephine Fye Lloyd. Over the years Ciscoe has made other appearances at the Garden Party and confessed that if he were ever to leave his Seattle home and garden, it would be to come to Edmonds.

“This town is so beautiful,” he remarked. “It holds a special place in my heart. I love the twaddle out of it!”

The evening included a video tour through time, tracing the club’s roots from its 1996 “germination,” its growth and changes over the years as it expanded and found more ways to serve the community, to today’s role in creating the downtown hanging baskets and corner flower beds, the gardens at Hazel Miller Plaza, the plantings at Edmonds Center for the Arts, providing scholarships for local horticulture students, and operating what has arguably become the region’s premier summer garden tour.

All this takes money of course, and each year the garden party features a raffle drawing for gifts donated by Edmonds area merchants. This year’s raffle broke all records, raising more than $20,000 to support club activities. Grand prize was a one-week city tour donated by Rick Steves Europe – but the winner would face a hard choice: Would it be London, Paris or Rome?

Rick Steves was on hand to draw the winning numbers, and the lucky grand prize ticket holder was — drum roll please — Martin Hodge of Edmonds.

While winners did not need to be present, Hodge was in the audience and literally jumped out of his seat – lucky for him the auditorium has a high ceiling, or he might have knocked himself unconscious!

“I’ve never been to Europe before,” he exclaimed after the event. “It’s gonna be a tough decision which city to pick.”

Hodge has lived in Edmonds for years, raised his family here, and for 35 years has operated his own Edmonds-based business (assisted by his sons), Blue Ribbon Electric.

“I’m just so grateful to be able to live and operate my business in this wonderful community,” he said. “And I’m especially grateful to Rick Steves for all the generous support he gives to our town.

“It’s amazing how this happened,” he continued. “A few weeks ago, I had Jeanne Thorsen (who heads up the Edmonds in Bloom garden tour committee) over to ask her some garden questions and find out how to get my garden on next year’s tour. She asked if I wanted to buy a raffle ticket – she only had 11 tickets left, so I said ‘sure’ and bought all 11 on the spot. Amazing!”

Learn more about Edmonds In Bloom at the club website here.

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

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