The garden center industry lost a giant


IMG_0062-1 I'm saddened beyond words to report that Don Riddle, founder of Homestead Gardens and a revered leader of the garden center industry, died this week at the too-young age of 63.  Here's my collection of remembrances about Don on the Homestead blog. (There you'll see references to winning both Retailer of the Year designation and the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award in the industry.)

Homestead was, I believe, the first garden center to hire a gardenblogger – almost two years ago now – thanks to its smart director of marketing, and Don's support for the idea.  Every single time I saw Don he thanked me for my help, so I know first-hand that the many reports of his kindness and generosity appearing throughout the industry and in the Maryland media are sincere.

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Susan Harris

Susan’s a garden writer, teacher and activist in the Washington, D.C. area. Co-founder of GardenRant, she also wrote for national gardening magazines and independent garden centers before retiring in 2014. Now she has time for these projects:

  • Founding and now managing the pro-science educational nonprofit GOOD GARDENING VIDEOS that finds and promotes the best videos on YouTube for teaching people to garden.
  • Creating and managing DC GARDENS, the nonprofit campaign to promote the public gardens of the Washington, D.C. area, and gardening by locals.
  • Creating and editing the community website GREENBELT ONLINE to serve her adopted hometown of Greenbelt, Maryland (a “New Deal Utopia” founded in 1937).
  • Also in Greenbelt, MD, writing the e-newsletter and serving on the Board of Directors for the cooperatively-owned music and arts venue and restaurant called the NEW DEAL CAFE.

Contact Susan via email or by leaving a comment here.

Photo by Stephen Brown.


  1. I am sorry to hear this. I only went to Homestead once and left feeling totally amazed and totally inadequate with my own efforts to run a garden center. He was doing something right.

  2. This is a great loss to so many. His words of encouragement and support for what I am doing will never be forgotten. My condolences go out to his family, friends and to all those in the garden industry that had the pleasure of know him…

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