By Lila Johnson, Publicity Chair for Mill Creek Garden Club
Update: March 19, 2020
Please Note: On Thursday evening, March 19th, our Mill Creek Garden Club Board decided to cancel our 2020 Garden Tour. We are disappointed you won't have the opportunity to visit the six beautiful gardens and enjoy the creativity of eight artisans and the art of M. Dianne Astrof who we celebrate here. Thank you for understanding. We'll be back in 2021.
Mill Creek Garden Club proudly unveils “Garden Gold” as the face of the 2020 Mill Creek Garden Tour & Artisan Market scheduled for June 27. The eye-catching sunflower is the work of M. Dianne Astrof, a Charter Member of Garden Club who passed away suddenly in May, 2019. With this selection we pay tribute to Dianne, her talent on canvas, in the garden and her contributions to Garden Club. Dianne’s painting will grace the cover of our tour br0chure, poster and special note cards for sale on the day of our garden tour.
Dianne’s story is a lovely example of gardening and art complementing one another. Born and raised in Canada, Dianne was encouraged to explore painting and the piano. Her parents kept a nice yard where her mom grew tulips and pansies, but Dianne was more interested in painting flowers, not digging in the dirt. She commented “Color speaks to my soul.”
Northern California became home shortly after she married Ken. There, the “land of vineyards and wildflowers” became her two favorite subjects to paint, all while raising three kids—Tom, Mike and Kelly. In the early 1980’s Washington State beckoned the family and Dianne not only helped her husband in his business, but she decided to landscape their somewhat austere Vine Maple yard in Mill Creek. She applied her talent as gardening and art collided when she fell in love with the beautiful scenery of the Pacific Northwest.
In the spring of 1984 Dianne heard about the new Mill Creek Garden Club and became one of fifteen Charter Members. In an interview, Dianne recalled those early meetings where members wanted to learn about plants and nurture friendships. She remembered Bob, who owned Wileywood Nursery and said she purchased lots of shrubs and trees from him. She commented, “I was on to my next new hobby, landscaping … and if I do say so myself, I thought our yard was the prettiest of all.”
In the summer of 1985, a water view and a larger yard caught the Astrof’s eye, so they moved to Edmonds. It was in 1995 with family grown, Dianne decided to become a full-time artist; Ken became a gentle critic and her greatest supporter. For several years she showed her art at the iconic NW Flower & Garden Show. Ken says it was a lot of work, but Dianne loved greeting customers and chatting with the other vendors.
Dianne returned to Garden Club in 2013 at the encouragement of MCGC member Judy Morrier, whose daughter is married to Dianne’s son Tom. She commuted from Edmonds, always arriving at meetings with a cheerful smile. Dianne volunteered on the Christmas Committee and graciously donated her beautiful note cards and art prints for the door prize gift bags.
On the back of her art prints is this quote from Dianne, “If I touch your heart with my work, then I am doubly blessed.” We are honored to launch this year’s Mill Creek Garden Tour with “Garden Gold” and extend sincere appreciation to Ken Astrof and family. When you catch a glimpse of that stunning sunflower, think of Dianne, we do.
Mill Creek Garden Tour 2020 & Artisan Market
Please Note: Because Mill Creek Garden Club wishes to be responsible to our community and to our members, our Board will decide by May 1st whether to cancel the June 27th tour due to the Corona Virus. In the meantime, we are working to bring you six beautiful gardens and the creativity of eight artisans and the art of M. Dianne Astrof which we celebrate here. Thank you for understanding.
Garden Club admires the artistry of our Charter member M. Dianne Astrof. Photo Courtesy of Astrof Family & Mill Creek Garden Club.