After 27 years, Don and Lili Hall say goodbye to Garden Gear

Lili Hall shows off the sign on the store counter that answers the question, “What are you going to do in retirement?”

Edmonds’ Garden Gear, the go-to local source for the garden lover, is closing up shop after almost three decades in the same downtown location on 5th Avenue between the fountain and the Log Cabin.

Owned by long-time Edmonds residents – and avid gardeners – Don and Lili Hall, the shop has been a fixture in downtown for the past quarter century, adding a colorful splash to the local street scene with sidewalk displays of wind socks, pinwheels and whimsical garden décor. It was hard to walk past without breaking into a smile.

Don Hall looks over visitors to his garden during the 2015 Edmonds in Bloom garden tour. 

Don has always been the gardener, while Lili came to it later after working for years in the corporate sector. By any measure the garden they built and continue to tend around their Edmonds Bowl home is a showcase. It has been a featured stop on the Edmonds in Bloom garden tour, and is a stunning example of what can be done in a small space. When asked during the 2015 tour his secret for small gardening, Don Hall remarked, “The secret of small gardening is using every square inch to full advantage. If there’s dirt, there’s room for another plant.”

The Halls were inspired to open a garden shop during a visit to Victoria, British Columbia.

“We were just wandering around and came across a little garden shop,” recalls Lili. “They carried an array of goods from some well-known garden suppliers like Smith and Hawken. Previously, I’d looked longingly at the Smith and Hawken catalogs, but I’m not a mail-order person. I like to see and touch the goods before I buy. And I guess that planted the seed, so to speak. Get quality goods and give people the chance to see and touch them first-hand.”

In its day, Garden Gear was a rainbow of colors, textures and movement — and Lili was in the middle of it all. (Photo taken by Bob Sears in August 2012)

Returning to Edmonds, the couple couldn’t get that little shop out of their minds, and when a space opened up just two doors from the fountain, they decided to jump.

“We had absolutely no retail experience at the time, so it was a big learning experience for us both,” laughed Lili. “But we kept at it, picked it up bit by bit, and came to really love running a shop in our community.”

The shop windows are empty as Garden Gear closes down.

But now, after 27 years, it’s time to let it go.

“Don and I just decided it was time,” explained Lili. “We’ve had a good run, but much as I enjoy running the business, after nearly three decades now looks like the perfect time to step away.  Our retirement plans are simple – we’ll stay in town, hang out in Edmonds, and tend our garden.”

Lili stands in the mostly vacant store space. The store officially closed on Feb. 28, but Lili still stops in to meet anyone interested in purchasing remaining stock and furnishings.

The store officially closed its doors on Feb. 28, but the lease will not expire until the end of March. Lili plans to be there off and on while she sells off the last of her remaining stock, shelving and store décor.

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

  1. Lili & Don – we’ll miss seeing all the fun things you had to offer. Enjoy your retirement, we wish you all the best.

  2. I’m gonna miss you girl..talks out on the sidewalk..flower help..purchases next door..small town stuff.. remember the fashion show? I may stop by this summer to see your lovely yard.

  3. Good read!! Fun to see picture of Lili from the stores beginning. I will miss the shop, it was a great place to find good gifts. Congrats on retirement!!

  4. Goodbye Lily and Don. Enjoy retirement. I decided to put my chartreus flame into the house. I put it in a very long tulip vase 1/4 of an inch space left around brass pole, I added a combo of pebble stones and flesh and black and beige colored sand to anchor it in place. It looks fantastic. Now the wind can’t blow away my final purchase. Thank you for all the wonderful treasures thru the years and for your always friendly and fun attitude. You will be missed.

  5. I am going to miss this store and the smiles of Lily so much! Thank you for being such an amazing member of the community, and congratulations on your retirement.

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