Nearly 60 years ago when Ed Hume graduated high school, the youngest of six received a suit as a graduation gift from his parents.
The gift came with the expectation he would become a banker like his older brother, but the young Hume had other ideas. He went and applied at a local nursery and was offered a job. The rest his history when it comes to his 60-year stint as a gardener.
Most recently, Hume was honored with the 2015 Gold Circle Emmy award, which honors media professionals who have been in television for at least 50 years. Hume’s TV show is the only show in Washington, Oregon, Montana and Alaska to reach the 50-year mark. Hume’s show, which has aired under different names on the various Seattle market television stations, has been on TV longer than “Monday Night Football,” “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune,” he said.
“The Emmy shows all of his work throughout the years,” Ed’s wife of 57 years, Myrna, said. “He was jumping all over the house when he found out about the award.”
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“I was ecstatic,” Hume said of his award. “I just couldn’t believe it.”
Hume’s show has been on nearly every network in the Seattle-Tacoma market, with expansions into the Portland and Spokane markets. He also wrote a gardening column for the Seattle PI newspaper before becoming The Seattle Times’ garden editor. Hume had a radio show, and he and Myrna had a holiday decorating show for ten years.
While Hume’s show has moved from network to network and changed names since the early 2000s, “Gardening in America” has remained on KONG-TV.
In addition to Hume’s career in media, the Puyallup resident started his own seed company in 1977, specializing in seeds that are meant for the short seasons the Pacific Northwest is known for. Hume’s two sons have taken over the seed operations.
“Our seeds are put in store on consignment,” Hume said. “So, what comes back to us, we donate to Third World countries and neighborhood gardens.”
Hume’s seeds not only help developing nations and community gardens, the building which houses the seed operations has 56 solar panels on the roof.
“Our packets are powered by solar power,” he proudly declared.
Hume’s garden in Puyallup has 14 small gardens, in which he leads hour-long tours.
“We really tried to make the garden fun,” the 83-year-old said. “My belief is that I grew up in an age where gardening wasn’t fun. I really want to make it fun for kids and adults.”
The garden includes a maze, and what Hume calls a crazy garden, and a garden full of puns (a bed of rocks with a clock placed in the middle is called Rock Around the Clock).
Hume’s tours are typically held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday every week.
At 83, most would think Hume would have retired, but he says doing what he loves has kept him young.
“It’s really incredible that I’ve been ale to do it my whole life,” he said.
His wife asked him a few weeks back that if he could do his life over again, what would he do differently.
“I said, ‘Absolutely nothing,’” Hume replied. “I’ve been to the White House, Holland, Hawaii — all over the world. I’ve been to 80 different countries. Every day is fun.”
Up next for Hume is the garden’s Summer Garden Fair, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 26 at 11504 58th Ave E in Puyallup. The garden is open, with tours conducted every hour. There will also be raffles, prizes and activities for kids.