This month’s employee spotlight is focused on Palladio Garden sales associate, Dan Edmiston.
Dan is a retired educator, living in the Joffre neighborhood, the area bordered by Highland Avenue to the east, Central Avenue to the south, Poplar Avenue to the north, and Lafayette Street on its west end. The neighborhood is directly east of Chickasaw Gardens.
Dan taught for 32 years in several area schools, including Chimney Rock Elementary and Evangelical Christian School. Among his many accomplishments was starting gardens and an outdoor classroom at Chimney Rock Elementary. The outdoor classroom he started at Chimney Rock Elementary presented many learning opportunities for students. One of the most well-loved features is the butterfly garden where children can see the Monarch Butterfly life cycle, learn about essential host plants, and learn about pollinator-friendly plants and practices. This was a natural extension of Dan’s lifelong love of gardening and nature.
Though Dan has been working in his garden in the Joffre neighborhood for 19 years, retirement has allowed him to give it greater focus. It
is truly stunning, even to our most experienced garden staff members! Hopefully, you will enjoy the photographs of his garden we are including.
Dan says that, though he obsessively sprayed his zoysia lawn in the early years to keep it weed free, his shift in focus to make it more wildlife and pollinator friendly has greatly reduced the herbicides and pesticides he uses in his yard. Now, he mostly just fertilizes. Dan has a deep love of nature and a concern for the negative impact of human behavior on species diversity. In fact, Dan’s yard is certified as a “Wildlife Habitat” by the National Wildlife Federation. If you’d like help getting your yard certified as a wildlife habitat, just ask Dan.
Dan’s garden is a wonderful mixture of native species, plants for sun, plants for shade, and, of course, species more reminiscent of Japanese style gardens, like Japanese maples, camellias, and azaleas. He also has several wonderful climbing vines, including moon vine and cypress vine in his backyard, from which he regularly harvests and shares seeds.
A unique feature of Dan’s yard is reclaimed authentic cobblestone, once used by the City of Memphis, brought over from England. They are huge stones, significantly denser than much of our native stone, some with rich pink hues. Dan’s backyard features a wonderful deck, multiple seating areas, and a nice pergola, all of which allow him to entertain and grow closer to friends.
Running out of sunny space in his yard, Dan even talked his neighbor into letting him grow food and pollinator-friendly plants in part of her yard!
Looking to the future, Dan is making plans to install an outdoor water garden. And, with good advice from Frank Roberts, manager of Palladio Garden and water feature expert, Dan plans to start digging in a few weeks.
Dan graduated from Bob Jones University in 1979 with a B.A. in Humanities. He graduated from Memphis State University
(now the University of Memphis) in 1986, with an MAT degree.
He then finished an additional +45 hours above Masters Level at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) in 1991.
Palladio Garden is grateful to have Dan Edmiston on its staff, where he arguably continues his teaching career, educating both co-workers and customers about how their plant choices and landscapes fit into the ecosystem as a whole.