Indianola man fulfills dying writer’s wish

An Indianola resident has fulfilled a dying writer’s wish.

For more than two decades, starting in the early 1990s, Madeleine Wilde’s column, “Notes from the Garden,” appeared in Queen Anne and Magnolia News in Seattle. Several times over those years, News publisher Mike Dillon, who grew up on Bainbridge Island and lives in Indianola, urged Wilde to gather her columns into a book manuscript and send it to prospective publishers.

In February of 2018, two weeks before her death at 74 from a rare form of lymphoma, Wilde asked Dillon if he would take up the task. Wilde’s book, “Notes from the Garden: Creating a Pacific Northwest Sanctuary,” was published by Chatwin Books in Seattle in late October.

“Madeleine was a delightful, engaging writer,” Dillon said. “Her columns felt like she opened her garden gate just for you. Her prose moved between hands-on, practical advice and more lyrical meditations.”

In his introduction, Dillon provides a brief biography of the author and recounts how the book came about. Wilde’s husband, David Streatfield, professor emeritus in the department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington, wrote the Foreword. “Notes” is illustrated by architect Mark Hinshaw, former architectural critic for The Seattle Times and Crosscut.

Dillon said he typed in the first half of the book from old newspaper copies until he was able to work with Wilde’s electronic files. Then came the task of polishing and editing the manuscript and submitting it to a dozen or so publishing houses.

“It’s deeply satisfying to achieve Madeleine’s dream,” Dillon said. “ She was a great believer in the written word and the importance of books in our lives. Her manuscript found the right home. This is a beautifully made collection.”