Sunday Opinion: Making An Overture

I know, this Sunday Opinion post is better than 24 hours late-sorry!  My weekend was packed with the best sort of thing- lots of company. That would be people, convening, over the garden.  Our first spring event ever at the shop, in celebration of our 15th anniversary, was a success.  What makes me think this?  We had lots and lots of people come-maybe more people that had ever been in the shop before-all at one time. There wasn’t a parking space for blocks.  Old friends yes, but many new people as well.  We made an invitation, and people came. All the gardeners who came-this made for the best part of the weekend. My friends in the nursery business who brought plants to sell-Bogie Lake Greenhouse, Julie’s Floral, Bordine’s Nursery, and Wiegands Nursery-it was great to have the chance to go public with those relationships so important to me and my business.

Everyone with whom I spoke to especially liked that other garden businesses were welcome and represented at my place.  Why would I leave them out?  Gardeners are willing to drive great distances for great plants.  Gardeners shop everywhere they can.  They know what is out there.  They know who does what well.  This place has swell dwarf conifers, and this place grows stellar geraniums, and this place specializes in water plants, and that place grows great fruit trees, and yet another place specializes in rare perennials or wildflowers. Want a tree-go here.  Should you want to see an important collection of rhododendrons and azaleas, go here.  Other garden businesses are not my enemy, they are my community.

Detroit Garden Works specializes in certain things.  We go to great length to represent fine ornament for garden.  We stock container plants that we love.  We stock plant material for the garden and landscape of size and age.  We are by no means a full service nursery-we specialize in the process of how a garden and landscape gets put together; we specialize in design.  We are good at that service that I call coaching. We do not grow-we buy what is well grown.  You were invited to meet those growers and landscape professionals I treasure. Great landscape professionals-you came to check out my choices.  It made for a great weekend. Many many thanks.

I intended to make that point about community at our spring fair-not one person missed that.  A business has that opportunity-to speak up about what they believe in; I took it.  To that end, a great garden takes a lot of work.  A great garden asks for some shopping around-and a lot of travel.  Should you be interested in doing that great thing on your own, shop at the farmer’s market before I get there.  Go lots of places, trust your eye.  Figure out what matters to you.  Read my essays-I am open about how I design, what I look at, what influences me, where I go-what stymies me. I have not one secret up my sleeve.  I only have my point of view. I promise to never make you work too hard to find out what my point of view is.  Take it, or leave it-no harm, no foul.  Absorb what you have a mind to, and move on.  I might help you-your choice.  It is your garden to own. We are all in this gardening thing together-are we not? Should you catch me in the shop, I am happy to tell you that point of view, face to face, as best I can. 

 A person interested in design on a more comprehensive basis-I do that too.  I can take a new house just finished sitting on a mound of dirt to another level.  Whatever problem I might see that I cannot handle, there is someone in my community I can direct you to.  My idea is about better landscapes.  Gorgeous gardens.  Better communities.   I want to be a part of that.  We are not the be all or end all-we are part of a group that helps people to have a landscape or garden or both-better than they thought they could have it. 

I am keenly interested in landscape and garden design.  However that happens, whether I am involved or not-enchants me.  Great landscapes are much more about thoughtful and enduring relationships than they are about lindens, or classical Italian terra pots.  About saying hello, and happy to meet you.  And then, about listening.  Later-planning.  Later yet, about older and solid relationships.  The lesson of the spring fair?  Any relationship is all about making an overture.  My design clients-I need to be sure I am inviting them to share in that process.  I need to be available.  In the shop-we need to be sure to issue regular invitations.  If you are a gardener, we intend to scoop you up, and invite you over.

I could not be more pleased about the response to my invitation to stop by and celebrate.  Thanks so very much.


  1. I loved your spring fair, everything about it was fabulous and I appreciate all of the great people whom made it possible!!! we are all blessed to have so many fine gardening establishments in the area to make our community all the more beautiful and bountiful. Let us celebrate it all.
    Thank you so much for your openness and bringing your passion into this community, it speaks volumes about your heart……after all the flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes.

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