Michael Vander Does and his late wife didn't quite agree on what to do about their yard when they moved to East Tulane Road in 1989.

"She wanted to buy a power mower, and I said for a postage-stamp lawn like this, you don't spend money," he recalled.

Vander Does opted instead for a push mower, but he didn't push it around the small space often enough to suit Kate Schulte, who died in 2011.

So in 1991, the couple compromised, plowing the entire yard under in order to make it all garden.

"The neighbors would drive by real slow and try to figure out what we were doing," said Vander Does, who designs and maintains audio and video systems.

What they were doing was creating a profusion of poppies and adding lots and lots of lilies -- 80 varieties in all.

Since then, their creation has been on the Clintonville Open Garden Tour several times, most recently July 15.

"I love the wildness of it," Vander Does said.

Now, the 67-year-old is poised to say "so long" to the garden that's been so dear to his heart -- and again, it's due to love.

"I'm getting married and I need a bigger house, and it makes it worth giving up the garden," Vander Does said.

A mutual friend introduced him to Katherine Worley, who said she was the first baby born at the old Westerville Medical Center.

Obviously, one thing led to another.

"We like to say we met the same way as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle," Worley said.

Worley is a jewelry maker and needs workshop space, while her husband-to-be has to have a music room, so they're moving to a larger home on Cliffside Drive.

"I'm enjoying my last season with this garden," Vander Does said. "I hope whoever comes along next loves it and tends it."

"You can tell his garden knows how much he loves it," Worley said, looking out over the sea of colors that clings to the hillside front yard.

"It's just fabulous," said Pat Rugola, one of the garden tour organizers. "We love it and we're really sorry that he's leaving. Michael first came on the tour in 2014. We started in 2012. He was on the tour for several years and then was off.

"In the gardening community we refer to that style as 'cottage gardening' because it's all kinds of stuff together. It really is a mass of color from early spring on through into fall. In mid- to late May, it's just a blast of red."

What Vander Does will miss most about his garden is the reactions of neighborhood children, many of whom he said learned their colors from the plants. Occasionally, he said, handmade cards are left by youngsters thanking him for his unique yard, and a 3-year-old girl who lives next door once compared the garden to fireworks.

"I let them pick flowers," Vander Does said. "There are so many flowers here, I could let adults pick them, but I only let kids."

When the garden at their new home is created, Worley made it clear that it's going to be her husband's project.

"I love flowers," she said. "It's like food. I love to eat. I just don't like to garden or cook very much.

"To me, it's drudgery."

"I find weeding and stuff very meditative," Vander Does said. "A garden is eternally mutable. It changes constantly. This plant dies, this plant comes up."

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1