Howard Lindsay, of Ryderwood, shows off his broccoli plants on Friday evening during a tour of his "Circle of Friends" garden.
The Circle of Friends Garden in Ryderwood is a busy place. It is the latest creation of Howard Lindsay, who specializes in strawberries and garlic. The latter of which took much of his time at Garlic Fest in Chehalis over the weekend.
Lindsay moved to Ryderwood in 1985 and gained an interest in gardening. He always had a small plot, but when he sold his home and moved in with his daughter, he developed his own project garden that includes two greenhouses.
"I lease the property and paid for all of the improvements," he says with a clear sense of pride and purpose.
Lindsay will turn 93 on Sept. 6.
His circle of friends include family, friends and even an occasional employees that help him maintain the garden by helping water, landscape, maintain and harvest his agricultural products.
Lindsay says that there is upwards of two hours of watering every day, and said
Part of his motivation for his garden is his daughter's cooking.
"I am the world's worst cook, but I am a good eater," he grinned as he brags about her broccoli soup. "I was going to grow more (broccoli) and wanted her to make enough to freeze."
Long before gardening, Lindsay had quite a career in the military. At an early age, he was interested in being a pilot. He learned to fly at 15 when he struck a grand bargain with the airport managers.
"If he gave me a job, I would take half my pay in flight time," he said.
He joined the marines just before the start of World War II and served in places like Wake and Midway Islands before the start of the conflict. Instead of becoming a pilot, he turned into a crack flight line mechanic. At one point, he supervised maintenance division of three squadrons on O'ahu Island in Hawaii.
During his service in the South Pacific, Lindsay earned the Navy-Marine Corp Medal for heroism when he ran to a burning plane on his flight line, extinguished the flames and defused a bomb waiting for combat service.
Later, Lindsay earned an international reputation when he supervised a flight line that included mechanical rebuilds on not only Marine aircraft, but also Army, Navy, Australian and planes from New Zealand.
Lindsay is a proud man, but has been challenged this year by his garden. Despite all of the help, the dry, hot summer conditions forced him to empty his greenhouses so plants would not overheat. In the meantime, he loves to share the strawberries, potatoes, cucumbers, peas, beets, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, pumpkins and squash sections of his organic farm.
More than anything, if it grows, Lindsay probably has a sample just outside of one of his greenhouses. It is just a sign of a man that has learned that he loves watching things grow. Clearly though, he enjoys sharing it with his ever growing circle of friends.