IF YOU HAVE lived in the Pacific Northwest for a while, you undoubtedly know that Ed Hume is a gardening icon in our region. You might not be aware, however, that Ed also is well-known throughout the nation, and even worldwide. His weekly television show, “Gardening in America,” was viewed in 50 million homes in the United States and Japan. The show broadcast its last episode on KONG-TV on Aug. 26, 2017, after 52 years on the air, making it the longest continuous-running gardening TV show in North America, and most likely in the world.
An avid traveler, Ed has led garden tours all over the world and has visited more than 80 countries. He hosted a call-in radio gardening show for years, and is famous for his personal appearances and garden talks, which draw huge crowds throughout the United States and Canada.
Ed has written several books, including his latest, “Gardening with Ed Hume: Northwest Gardening Made Easy.” There are so many awards and honors on display at his seed company, at the rate he’s going, he’ll have to construct another building to make room to hang them all.
Ed Hume’s Educational Garden
About: Tours take about an hour and are open to the public.
Where: 11504 58th Ave. E. Puyallup.
Admission and information: Appointments are required. Call 800-383-4863, or go to humeseeds.com/edgarden.htm.
Ed started his highly successful family-owned and -operated seed business in 1977. The company sells quality seeds specially selected for short seasons and cool climates. The Puyallup headquarters also is home to Ed Hume’s Educational Garden, designed by Ed and his staff. The beautiful creation is comprised of 14 specialty gardens. Tours are immensely popular with kids and adults because they’re led by none other than the famous garden guru himself. Speaking from experience, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll learn. Tour groups include school field trips, garden clubs, Master Gardener groups and more, but the garden is designed for, and especially loved by, kids.
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The tours begin with a visit to the Topiary Display, featuring shrubs fashioned to look like a menagerie of animals and other artistic creations. Next is the Japanese Garden, filled with elements that tell the story of Japanese gardening traditions. Then there’s the Plant a Row for the Hungry Garden, brimming with vegetables that are contributed to the local food bank. The path continues into the Sight-Disabled Garden, filled with plants that appeal to our senses other than sight. There’s also the Native Plant Section, the Herb Garden, Heather Garden, Fragrance Garden, Hellebore Display and the Tunnel Garden covered with flowering vines.
Among the gardens most loved by the kids are the Hummingbird/Butterfly Garden; the Crazy Garden (sporting the amazing bowlasaurus and other highly imaginative creatures); the Carnivorous Plant Garden (keep your hands in your pockets); and the big-time favorite of both kids and adults, the Puzzle Garden, packed with fun riddles created with plants and props.
The garden contains amazing art, as well. Make sure to give gigantic Olaf a hug (he looks scary, but he’s really very nice), and be ready to run for cover when you see Hoppy the enormous hop aphid leap into view.
Kids’ tours always end with a hands-on project: anything from planting seeds or potting up a flower to propagating plants from cuttings. Finally, take advantage of the optional tour of the seed-packaging facility, which Ed offers after the garden tour. The machines in the facility were built in the 1800s, and it’s fascinating to see how they are still used to package seeds today.
By the way: The riddles in the Puzzle Garden are quite challenging. Don’t be embarrassed if the kids on the tour figure out the answers way before you do. Ed tells me that the kids always beat the living tweedle out of adults when it comes to solving the puzzles.
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