41 Pots

We have a few clients with large numbers of containers to plant. We were scheduled to switch over the summer season to the fall for one of those clients. We removed all of the summer plantings, potted up the topiary plants that would be stored until next season, and replanted for fall.  41 pots and boxes. The entire day prior David and I collaborated on fall centerpieces for this client. I design, and he constructs them in such a way that makes his arrangements better than the sum total of the materials. Hew goes way beyond the materials, in his own way. This is a way of saying that he is gifted.  We talk it over in a language I suspect few could understand. Our fall centerpieces have a loosely intended overall shape that he puts together one bunch, and one layer at a time. I decide what plants go with those centerpieces, to a point. A drawing on paper is a vastly different scenario than the on site reality.   David decided to add the variegated carex you see in the boxes above. That gesture introduced a graceful and less formal element to the mix of mums and cabbage. The texture of the small grass is a striking contrast to the large broad leaves of the cabbage. That grass now plays a major role in the composition.

I encourage my crew to participate in the design process. If and when they do, they take ownership of the project. And that is what makes a project good. I make a concerted effort to teach them as much as I can about planting and arranging. Every one of them to the last has been listening.  At the end of the prep day, they all loaded plants and soil. They had all that they needed from me. The installation was their day. This morning, in the heat of the final load up, I told Karen: “You got this. Send me pictures at the end of the day.” To follow are those pictures.  I could not be more pleased about the work they did.


A collection of pots makes it possible to develop an idea in a more complete way. This planting makes much of texture and mass. All the color is measured. There are rare days when I wish I had one pot to plant and tend instead of 38, but when I see them all grown in, the ongoing pleasure of it all is significant. I am certain everyone who participated in this project was swept up in and enjoyed the process of bringing it to life. How so? They told me so.


  1. Really eye- catching and appealing pots and designs.

    I like them all!

  2. Robert A Beebe says

    How very restrained and excellent!

  3. Michaele Anderson says

    As wonderful as each individual container is all on its own, the impression the collection gives is outstanding on steroids. Definitely, a stellar example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

  4. Marguerite says

    What beauty and grace. The arrangements are pensive in their approach, providing inspiration for quiet reflection so appropriate to Autumn. Anyone seeing those pots each day is lucky indeed. What an amazing organization of talent you have built, yours and your staff.

  5. Eileen Ripp-Emerson says

    In the second picture the low container that has ridges, is that cement or not man made at all?
    These will need to be watered, does your staff do that, and how long will they stay until you transition into the holidays?

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Eileen, the containers with the vertical ridges are stone. My client handles the maintenance.These pots will be good into December. all the best, Deborah

  6. Those first two hudson pots w the mums, cabbage and grass are just beautiful. BRAVO Deborah and David!

  7. Laura Tonar says

    Yes! I love the subtlety.

  8. Nice work team! What is the variegated long leaf one? Beautiful in the blue boxes!
    Thanks! -April

  9. Jackie Gorski says

    Deborah, this is a beautiful collection of container plantings connected by artful design. Well done! What plants were used in the long window box behind the outdoor seating with seagreen cushions?

  10. Deborah, such gorgeous, inspiring pics, as always. May I ask what the white plant is that is sticking up out of the middle of the planter in the second to last photo? Also, what is the greenery surrounding it? I so look forward to your posts. Thank you for taking the time to share with us.

    • Deborah Silver says

      The centerpiece is constructed from the dried stems of the coast banksia tree. It is a tropical evergreen foliage that dries well. Added to it are white faux picks that look like astilbe flowers. best regards, Deborah

  11. Ann Hackett says

    All so inspirational! How does the lemon cypress do in colder temperatures? Can you bring it indoors and save it after such a prolonged exposure to cold?

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Ann, the lemon cypress is fine with chilly weather. Just not below freezing weather. Eventually it needs to be brought in for the winter. best, Deborah

  12. Ms. Silver, I’m a big fan of yours here in the Lowcountry of South Carolina! I love reading your blog and have been following your work for years. Would I be out of line if I asked you to please orient the photographs so they read vertically, instead of horizontally? It would just make it SO much easier to look at the pictures. Much obliged!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Carmen, I post both horizontal and vertical pictures. They always have the correct orientation on my computer-both the finished post, and the draft. Are you looking at the posts on your phone? best, Deborah

      • Dang it, yes I’m looking at your blog on my phone! I have to turn it sideways and then the picture moves upside down! My mistake, sorry to bother.

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