Mills was head propagator of the Royal Horticultural Gardens,
England, in 1818, having trained at Kew Gardens west of
London. His grandson, Thomas E. Mills, also a horticulturalist,
emigated to America. Thomas worked for a time in Virginia,
and was in charge of the crew which landscaped the grounds
at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.
1888, Mills came to Montana. While visiting a brother
in Dillon, he heard about the possibilities Helena had
to offer. He came to Helena, tested the soil west of town
along Ten Mile Creek, and found what he was looking for.
He hired a crew and began building the State Nursery &
first, State Nursery just supplied the city of Helena
with cut flowers and plants, but Thomas Mills began experimenting.
He selected grasses, grains and vegetables that would
thrive in Montana's rigorous climate. by 1914 had built
six acres of greenhouses in the little valley on the banks
of Ten Mile Creek. The nursery eventually carried a wide
variety of goods.
many other big projects, State Nursery landscaped the
grounds of the Broadwater Hotel & Natatorium, which
was located just east of the nursery.
nursery had three retail locations in Helena over the
years; on East Sixth Ave. from 1890-1914, 328 Fuller Ave.
from 1914-1963, and Sixth and Main in the Goodkind Building
company went out of business in 2001.