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Mary's Blog

History of our Caldwell Herb Farm 1994-2010

Employee Bios

Common Questions

Visitor Comments
Catherine, Mary and Bud Mills

The Family
Proprietors and Residents  

Bud, Mary and their daughter, Catherine live at The Purple Gate Farm, located in south-central Texas, in Burleson County, in the region called the Brazos Valley.

We are hereWe are here

Members of our extended family appear below.

Bud enjoys the American Herb Garden Bud in American Garden

Leonard (Bud) Mills
Farmer, Designer, Builder, Plumber, Electrician, Auto and Farm Machinery Mechanic, Gardener, Fruit Orchard Manager, Bookkeeper, Cashier, Waiter, Tax Preparer, (to name a few).  

Retired from aerospace industry, currently farmer in residence.

My family has been involved with plants for several generations. My great-grandfather would travel to a large estate in Germany with a horse and buggy, offer his landscaping expertise to the owner, and if a contract was made, he and his family would live on the estate until he finished the job. My grandfather was a nurseryman, and my father was a tree surgeon in Minnesota.

Bud preparing for planting an Theme Herb Garden. Bud and tractor I have always had an interest in growing things but had little time during the years I worked and raised our family. I retired from the aerospace industry in 1992 and now devote my time building and maintaining the 24 acres at The Purple Gate Herb Farm. I am enjoying learning and sharing information about useful plants.

Bud and Mary share an interest in herbs and other useful plants Bud and Mary Mills

Mary H. Mills
Owner, Farmer"s Wife, Designer, Product Developer, Writer, Researcher, Tour Guide, Photographer, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, Potter, Greenhouse Manager (You get the picture!)  

My grandfather managed to grow a garden in the harsh climate of southeastern Alaska on granite mountainsides with very thin soil. I remember with relish the vegetables and berries he grew for the family.

Mary's clan Grandfather teaching her about Alaska Medicine Plants

Grandpa Chester and Mary Foraging plants was also part of the Northwest Coast Indian culture I grew up in. My clan grandfather, Chester James, an Indian herbal healer, taught Bud and me about using native Alaskan plants for medicines when we visited him through the years.

I have a degree in studio art from the University of Texas at Arlington. I worked at the Dallas Museum of Art in the Education Department as an archivist and photographer. I also did freelance research and photography for private art collectors. When we moved to Caldwell, Texas to establish The Purple Gate Herb Farm, I wanted to apply my experience to helping people learn about nature, useful plants and living close to the land.

I have begun writing a series of booklets to help people know and use the plants I am studying.

Other active members of our team.
Varmint Eradicator   Flora
Flora patrols the area keeping the raccoons, coyotes and stray dogs at bay. She also alerts us to the presence of snakes in the vicinity.
Faithful Companion and Dispenser of Affection Jack


  Jack (in the Texas Wildflower garden) is a shy but loving fellow who melts whenever you pet him. He is a favorite with our visitors. He is Flora's faithful sidekick and helps her patrol.

Survivalist Skruffy


Scruffy appeared one day under our porch, a tiny kitten, starved and frightened. Flora protected her and we fed her. She has become a member of our extended family.

Adrenalin Stimulator of the local 'wee' beasties. Red Shouldered Hawk

The hawk keeps watch on the coming-and-going of everyone, especially the birds who come to drink water in the ponds.

Thief and a
'Photo Op' Provider  

Outside my kitchen window, this heron blatantly eats the fish and frogs in our Japanese Garden pond.

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