A Return to the Garden: Michael Martin Mills & Randy Dalton

It’s been five years since we left the Jersey shore for South Philadelphia,  and we have only one regret.   And,  no,  it isn’t the loss of parking or even the beach,  which is always there waiting for us.

It’s our beloved garden,  complete with luscious Kwanzan cherry and Hinoki cypress trees,  bamboo,  river rocks,  dragonflies and those cheeky,  incorrigible weeds.

Fortunately,  we know people – and our blog gives us the perfect excuse to invade their Philadelphia retreats.

16_06_19 1 Michael Martin Mills Randy Dalton DC_8650Michael Martin Mills and Randy Dalton in their summer garden,  2015.

Last fall,  we introduced you to the magical, art-filled home and garden of Philadelphia Dumpster Diver Randy Dalton and his partner Michael Martin Mills. Continue reading

In Memory of Dumpster Diver Randy Dalton: The Blue Grotto

Last fall we introduced you to the art-filled home and fabulous gardens of Philadelphia Dumpster Diver Randy Dalton and his longtime partner Michael Martin Mills.

16_02_10 15 Michael & Randy 8560(Michael Martin Mills,  left,  and Randy Dalton in their always summery dining room.)

And,  yes,  you can still tour their house and garden on our website,  and read the blog post about them here.


But Randy had a magical surprise up his always blue sleeve – one we planned to interview him about later this year:   His Blue Grotto art environment.

16_02_10 1 Randy Dalton Blue Grotto CM_7495(Randy’s Blue Grotto contains hundreds of blue lights,  sculptures,  found objects, 
photos and more,  in support of his  “Do Blue!”  campaign for the arts)

Continue reading

Secret Gardens of the Dumpster Divers: Randy Dalton & Michael Martin Mills

If you follow Unexpected Philadelphia,  our four-month-old website,  you’ve toured six fabulous,  art-filled homes belonging to our fellow Philadelphia Dumpster Divers  –  that eclectic band of found-object artists and collectors who exhibit,  socialize and produce up-cycled art together.

Starting today,  we invite you on a new tour,  showcasing the inspiring home and garden of Michael Martin Mills and Randy Dalton.


Randy joined the Dumpster Divers at their second meeting in 1992.  A found-object artist,  gardener,  and initiator of the “Do Blue” campaign to support arts funding,  he has volunteered at Powelton Village’s Community Education Center since 1977,  doing everything from serving on the board,  to organizing exhibits,  to stripping paint from yards and yards – and yards – of paneling.

15_10_27 1 Randy Dalton 8460(Randy makes lighted art installations that even passing airplanes can see.)

Continue reading