Of his costumes, John Milton would dislike this one most

The wall of mulch, soil and stones at Lowe’s continues to expand every year
March 17, 2023

Story Location:
Mill Park
Milton, DE 19968
United States

At the bottom of the hill in Milton’s Mill Park, sitting on a bench under a pergola, is a statue of English poet John Milton – the man the town is named after.

Throughout the year, someone likes to dress Milton in season-appropriate costumes – something purple and gold at Fat Tuesday; a pumpkin at Halloween; a stocking cap near Christmas. I’ve yet to see Milton’s covert costume designer in action – the costumes appear out of the blue and they’re gone just as quickly – but it’s amusing to see a statue of what was, presumably, a stuffy, old Englishman dressed up in costumes he probably never would have worn. My kids enjoy it when we notice a new one.

This past weekend, in advance of the town’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Milton was wearing a leprechaun costume. The hat and fake ginger-colored beard were a little askew – like he’d already been hanging out at Irish Eyes for a couple hours.

I’m not sure why it crossed my mind, but I’m generally aware of the historical contempt the English and Irish have for each other, and I thought, “I wonder what John Milton, an Englishman who died hundreds of years ago, would have thought about wearing an Irish-themed costume.” Since Milton is not alive to ask directly, I did some digging around, and I feel pretty comfortable saying I don’t think he would have been a fan.

According to an article written by Chris Arnot for The Guardian in 2008, “It is fair to say that John Milton was not a lover of Ireland in general or Belfast in particular.” In another example, in his 1968 book, Milton biographer William Riley Parker wrote, “John Milton had nothing kind to say about the Irish.”

I’m not even sure why I wanted to point out that Milton wouldn’t have liked being dressed in a costume celebrating the Irish. However, as someone with relatives who migrated to this country from Ireland not too many generations ago, I think it’s funnier than the usual costumes, and I hope it keeps happening.

A sign of spring: Lowe’s wall of mulch

From switching of the clocks for daylight saving time to the blooming of daffodils, there are a number of early indicators that spring has arrived. One of the more noticeable ones, in my opinion, is the wall of bagged mulch, soil and stone that appears in the Lowe’s parking lot at Five Points this time of year.

This year’s wall is noticeably larger than years past. From end to end, it’s nearly two-tenths of a mile long and four pallets wide, each almost as tall as I am. I don’t know specific numbers, but there are thousands and thousands of those 50-pound bags. In the photo provided for this column, I count around 35 pallets. Each one of those pallets has at least 14 layers of bags stacked on top of each other. I’m guessing each layer has at least four bags and the pallets have been placed four wide. According to my calculations, that’s about 7,900 bags in the photo, and you can’t even see the portion of the parking lot along Route 1 heading toward the transit center.

It’s hard to believe that much mulch will be sold, but Lowe’s seems to be doing pretty well, so I’m assuming they know what they’re doing.

Joke of the Week:

This column will run in the paper on St. Patrick’s Day, so I might as well have a joke related to it. As always, send joke submissions to

Q: How can you tell if a leprechaun likes your joke?

A: He’s Dublin over with laughter.

  • Chris Flood has lived in or visited family in Delaware his whole life. He grew up in Maine, but a block of scrapple was always in the freezer of his parents’ house during his childhood. Contact him at

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter