Every year since 2008, Detroit Garden Works and Deborah Silver and Co have jointly sponsored a garden tour to benefit the programs of the Greening of Detroit. This non-profit organization is devoted to promoting healthy urban spaces through green initiatives. In more concrete terms, they have planted 89,000 trees in the city of Detroit since 1989. I sit on their board of commissioners, although my participation largely centers around this event. We make an effort to raise money for them – over 84,000.00 in the past 7 years.
The money we raise goes towards sponsorship of programs for which there is little or no grant money available. In one such program, the Greening hires young people to fill summer jobs that involve watering trees, and looking after Greening sponsored farms. I have to believe that the experience is a good one. I am all for any program which promotes stewardship of the environment, and a love and respect for nature.
This year’s tour features 7 gardens, five of which were designed and planted by Deborah Silver and Co. The other two belong to gardeners who have done all of their own design and installation work, and have shopped at Detroit Garden works for their pots, furniture, ornament, fountains, sculpture and tools. I have put my own garden on tour every year. People who take our tour every year do not seem to tire of that. I always make some changes in the garden or landscape. And the scheme for planting my pots changes.
The horseradish plant that I planted for Buck has reached an alarmingly magnificent size-as I knew it would. Be sure to take a look at it. If you are relieved the plant is in my yard, and not yours, I completely understand.
We charge 35.00 for a tour ticket, and 50.00 for a tour and reception ticket. For the extra 15.00, we provide enough great food to satisfy hungry people who have been touring all day, and Rob’s current roster of summer cocktails. His gin and tonics are on hand every year, as is his selection of white wines. He will also have available a small group of more unusual summer cocktails-every year that group is different. This years reception will also feature live music from a very very talented local musician – Tola Lewis. And as always, there is always much lively discussion of the landscapes and gardens that were part of the tour.
100% of all of the proceeds from the sale of tickets for the tour go directly to the Greening of Detroit. We do what we can to make the process of contributing to an organization whose work is so vital to our city a great experience. I am very pleased to report that this year’s tour features a wide variety of landscapes and gardens, all of which are interesting in their own way.
One landscape completed only a few months ago shows how a very large property can be designed to be friendly to entertaining friends, family, -and the family dogs – and still be beautiful and visually satisfying. Seeing a landscape that is newly installed is the best possible view of how any successful landscape depends on the creation of a solid framework – a good set of bones. Another landscape has been developed over the past 15 years, and features mature trees and shrubs. This garden has unusual trees and shrubs, in contrast to areas that have recently been reworked. No landscape, no matter how old, is ever truly done. The overall feeling of this landscape is relaxed, informal and serene.
Another large landscape is but a few years old, and is the product of a close collaboration between an experienced and dedicated gardener, and a designer. It features a number of perennial gardens, featuring unusual varieties of plants. One garden is comprised of an interesting mix of dwarf shrubs and perennials. Another area is planted with shrubs, and presided over by a collection of columnar sweet gum. Another area features roses and perennials. Of interest is a large collection of espaliers, both fruiting and ornamental, and a large pond with all of the pond plants to go with.
Yet another landscape features an older home of classic traditional architecture in a neighborhood setting. The landscape is very formal. A large pergola and a collection of custom made containers from the Branch studio punctuate the space. A large rear terrace features a lovely lead fountain of English origin. Custom handmade fencing and gates provides a secure yard for dogs and grandchildren. A lovely semicircular hedge of Venus dogwoods provide screening and privacy.
Another landscape is modeled after Monterey Square in Savannah-a childhood home. This very formal garden has an incredibly lovely old home grounding it. Yet another features a landscape with a strong eye for outdoor living, a level of whimsy that enchants the younger members of the household, and a passion for strong color.
What you are seeing in this post is a look at the planting scheme this year for my containers. I have never planted an all green scheme on my deck at home before, but I am liking how neutral and calm it is looking. In contrast, my pots in front are orange and red, and look great with my yellow brick.
But these pictures do not tell the entire story. There are places and spaces with changes you will just have to see for yourself. For those of you who cannot participate in our tour, I will post more pictures from all of the gardens, after the tour.
It is possible to purchase tickets in person at Detroit Garden Works. Rob will open the shop at 8am on Sunday July 19, for those people who wish to purchase tickets the day of the tour. We can take your order by phone, and mail the tickets. If the time gets short, we can take phone orders, and email tickets. For more information, and descriptions of all of the gardens on this years tour, please visit our website. http://thegardencruise.org/ For more information about the organization we feel is so essential to the environmental vitality of Detroit: The Greening of Detroit
Many of the gardeners who have so graciously agreed to put their gardens on tour will be there to answer questions, and talk. I spend the entire day at home. Buck and I both thoroughly enjoy the chance to meet other people with a serious interest in the landscape and garden. We all are hoping you will be able to join us.
lemon cypress and lime scotch moss