Archives for January 2015

Time To Read

DSC_7376I always buy myself a few books at year’s end.  My library is big enough that friends and family are afraid they might duplicate what I already have. Worse, they fear buying a book that isn’t of interest, or is off point. I am not offended in the least.  Choosing a book for me is not an easy task. My tastes are quirky, and wide ranging. I have a long history of collecting books on gardening and landscape design. My library has shelf space devoted to design from lots of countries, regions, and cities. What I love in a book is not something I much discuss with anyone. It is by and large a private matter, based on whatever is going through me at the time. This is not so unusual. The choice of a book, no matter the subject, is a personal matter.  Buck likes to buy me books-I humor him with a list. This goes on all year round. He never fails to deliver 2 or 3 books. Buck keeps me reading, Christmas Day.   Part of the solitary end of the season pleasure is looking into what books I might want to own. I don’t know what I read that made me interested in David Culp’s book, The Layered Garden. But I was intrigued enough to buy the book. The idea of a discussion of how a garden might be layered-what did that mean, exactly?  I read the book over the past 2 days. The book is better than I imagined it would be.  How so?  His writing is excellent and lively.  His thoughts on the garden are well thought out-succinct. The horticulture is spot on. The photographs are heavenly. But most importantly, the book makes it obvious that his relationship to his garden, and to horticulture, is a multi-layered affair.

The-Layered-Garden.jpgMy favorite written passages in the book are in the forward. He speaks to what motivates him to share his experience of the garden. The history, and present-all folded into one.  I admire that he would do whatever he could to encourage people to garden. That almost every question can be answered with a yes is a world view well worth some thought. It has much to do with why I write here, and why I will continue to write.    I hear from readers every day.  They are by and large just as passionate about the act of gardening as I am. They have lives not so different than mine.  We share a lot.  A reader sent me a letter and pictures just a few days ago. He makes me feel like everything I have ever done to make or write about making a garden or a landscape  was well worth my time. To follow is his letter, and his pictures.  Thanks, CT.

Dear Deborah,

I truly hope you are doing well! We corresponded earlier this year about my design needs, and unfortunately my idea has become a dream deferred. And since the ideas of my local designers are unimaginative and template-like, I’ve been working at it on my own. It’s been quite a journey, but I’m appreciating the process. In all I want to thank you for your time. I also want to thank you for your inspiration from afar. Your blog is rich and full of passion–I love it.

This fall I started compiling ideas for outdoor winter decorations–I had never done it before–at least to the DGW scale. I looked many places, but always came back to the designs you all put together for your shop and your customers. The thought, the setup, the attention to detail, the process–it’s a privilege to see. I’ve always had an eye for the finer and more intricate things, no matter the art. But sometimes it’s difficult to figure out how to achieve the same end when you don’t know the means. But you have been a teacher, and I have been eager to learn. Many of the materials you use and write about are not readily accessible to me, so I had to drive some distances as well as send for lots of it. Margarita was also such a great help when ordering from your shop!

Anyway, after weeks of working (my wife thought I was deranged) I put together a few containers and a garland. The process…painstaking but well worth the work. I have an even greater appreciation for what you and your crew does. I think you once wrote that Buck always stresses the approach to the work. And doing this all on my own, I can’t agree more. In fact, my 27ft garland…a 3 person job. I was in a pinch with time, and with no help it took 3 1/2 hours to hang. I’ll NEVER do that again. But I learned from it all. I even made a small pot for my neighbor after she saw my work. My designs aren’t original as you can see, haha. But it was nice to have a reference point for my first crack at this. I’m enchanted with the turnout…and so are my neighbors. I’m sure you have hundreds or even thousands of followers that feel the way I do. But I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you that I appreciate all that you do and all that you know.

Happy Holidays to you Deborah and the entire Detroit Garden Works crew! Enjoy the pix.



CT 1a gardener’s expression of the holiday

CT 2holiday entry

CT 4a winter container

CT 5How I love the letter and the pictures from CT. He read what I wrote, and said yes, David Culp style.Though he stuck close to my designs this year, I know the next season around he will venture out entirely on his own. CT-I cannot wait for your pictures, next year.  Why wouldn’t I? If I encourage any person to garden, my writing will have been worth so much more than I ever imagined it would. David Culp said everything about the process of gardening that needs saying-just my opinion.  His garden is extraordinary. His book is well worth the read. The heart this book is everything I would wish for any gardener, including myself, for the new year. Layered.