A mother-daughter duo are purveyors of summertime cheer on South Whidbey, where Moonstruck Gardens are filled with the bright colors and enticing scents of Oriental lilies.
Melinda Creed and her daughter Samantha have been selling lilies and hostas from their Clinton locale all summer. The lilies are just approaching the end of the peak season, and Melinda estimated about 30% of them have yet to bloom.
Melinda first began growing lilies and selling them wholesale to garden centers around five years ago, when she was living in Bellingham. She moved to Whidbey Island during the pandemic and first opened the gardens to the public for retail sales last year. With the help of her daughter, she sells both cut flowers and lily plants.
“It sort of oozed into something,” she said of the burgeoning business.
While Melinda is and always has been an avid gardener, Samantha handles the business and marketing side of the gardens. Samantha, a special education teacher and mother of a 1-year-old, lives in Bellingham, but regularly makes the trek to Clinton to help with the gardens. During the summer, she said she’s on Whidbey every weekend running all the transactions.
Working with her mother, Samantha said, has been a delight.
“It’s fun to watch her do something she’s so passionate about,” she said.
The gardens are also a happy place for Samantha’s son, Maximilian, who loves playing in the dirt and spending time with his grandmother. Melinda said she and Samantha are always looking for new varieties of plants to add to their inventory. They already sell over 200 varieties of hostas, and Melinda hopes to get up to 300. They also sell around 30 different types of lilies, including rose lilies, which Melinda said very few sellers carry.
Melinda even purchased Samantha lilies and Maxima lilies in honor of her daughter and grandson. Both varieties will continue to be available at the gardens in future seasons.
Caring for the thousands of plants in the gardens is hard work. Melinda waters every plant by hand, typically getting up early in the morning to complete all the watering. Even during the winter, she works outside in the mud to prepare for the growing season. But for Melinda, it’s all a labor of love.
“My complaint is lack of time,” she said. “I don’t mind a single task.”
The best part of the business for both mother and daughter is the joy customers get out of the flowers. Samantha said she loves watching customers’ faces light up when they enter the gardens and see the sprawling rows of lilies.
Melinda said she feels similarly; in fact, she enjoys brightening people’s days so much, she’ll often take buckets to Good Cheer Food Bank or Pickles Deli and hand out bouquets. Samantha jokes that her mother requires constant supervision, or else she might just give all their plants away.
“Flowers make people happy,” Melinda said. “People just light up and smile when they walk around the corner.”