A Favorite Day

It could be my most favorite day of the gardening year has nothing to do with me.  In early summer every year, Melissa comes to prune, weed, and otherwise do whatever my garden needs to look great. She and her sister Mindy run a business-M and M Flowers.  Their company ought to be named M and M Landscape Management.  These two women do a lot more than plant flowers.  Their idea of landscape maintenance is within a stone’s throw of perfection. They are expert in plant care.  They can spot a problem instantly-whether it be a tree, a flowering shrub, or a boxwood. They can replace, renovate, or add to just about anything in a garden.     

The level at which they are able to prune and otherwise maintain a woody landscape is unsurpassed-truly.  They are a gifted and utterly professional pair supported by well trained and efficient crews.  The day they come to trim my landscape-my most favorite day of the gardening year.  

Their formal pruning begins and ends with the horizon.  They drive stakes into the ground, and run lines utterly level.  Completely and unequivocably level.  My landscape is criss-crossed with level lines before any cutting takes place.  My job is to get all of my boxwood to grow as best I can.  The day Melissa comes to trim, I know I will see the results of my work, growing.  Boxwood and yew hedges take years to grow into a shape.  For this, I have patience.

Eight hours later, the 6 of them are gone.  The yard is spotless.  For one day every year, I have no weeds.  The boxwood and Hicks yews speak to a geometry close to my heart. The densiformis yews are loosely pruned, and look lush. 

Though my front yard slopes down to the sidewalk, the boxwood are absolutely level with the horizon.  I cannot really explain  why these precisely rendered shapes opposed to a natural slope are so dear to me.  Everyone has their own personal and specific idea of beauty-this is mine.    

The sidewalk level boxwood has been in two years.  They are just beginning to represent an idea about a change of level.  You can see in this photograph that the upper level of boxwood is precisely shaped.  The lower level needs another year or two to catch up.  That pruning is soft, as the growth is not there yet.  I have little patience for most things.  But for a landscape growing, I have nothing but patience.

Early this Sunday morning I was busy looking, and taking pictures.  Saturday after work I walked everywhere, but was too tired to photograph.  Were the work of doing this maintenance and pruning to fall to me, my landscape would never look like this. Melissa is much better at this than I. Better yet, she comes to shovel me out and get my landscape in shape at the end of my grueling spring season.  She puts enormous energy and time to my property when I am just about spent. 

Needless to say, my tour this morning delighted me. My work is completely focused on all of my clients-via the landscape company, and the shop. I have an idea to provide anyone who approaches me with a gardening experience that is beautiful, and successful.  This is hard work, and rewarding work.  The past six weeks have been work at an incredibly intense level.  This Sunday morning, my place looked beautiful.  Thanks, Melissa.  

My rose garden is not anything that would rate a picture in a book, but it pleases me plenty.  The space is really all about boxwood hedges, and Thuja Nigra.  Melissa deadheaded the roses, put the climbing rose arms blown down by wind back up on the wall, and weeded the gravel. She staked the roses.  She trimmed the curves in the arborvitae, and properly trimmed the boxwood.   My take on my visit this morning?  I do so hope heaven looks exactly like this. 
This view is much more about an answer to my very busy life, than a statement about formal landscapes.  This serene view satisfies what I need from my garden.  What you need from your landscape-this is the first question.

I was out in the middle of the street this morning, dancing around.  Taking it all in-taking pictures.  Thanks so much Melissa.


  1. Hard to come up with the exact words to describe your personal landscape Deborah….let’s just say that it resonates….it speaks. And for us too, it is oh so calming. The symmetries are so soothing. The box as a ground cover with the magnolias coming through makes us both crazy. My favorite detail of the day — the roses with the asparagus fronds. All in all, it is the profound feeling of place that is so moving. Thanks for letting us stop by at such a magical moment. And thanks for the consult on the pots…your bell’occhino in action again. The one size larger makes so much more sense…the eugenia topiaries are all planted and placed. Of course it should come as no surprise to me that YOUR Italian pots look perfect with the house…there isn’t a lick of orange in that cooked earth…those pots are all dusty rose with a lot of green in them and they look PERFECT with the stone of the house. Who ever thought a pot could make us so happy. (I know you hear that all the time!) To be continued….m.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Michael, I like sharing my garden, especially with you two. It was a moment, yes. I am pleased the pots worked out well-I bet the eugenia topiaries look great, having a beautiful home. Beautiful pots make me happy too. Deborah

  2. WOW! That really is stunning!! What am amazing property you have! I am doing my front landscaping this year all from scratch and i got to say most of it is inspired by you. No boxwood though-didn’t fit in the budget.

  3. What a great post–a visual treat and also very informational. I never thought about formal hedges being pruned exactly level using stakes and lines. It makes perfect sense and they look gorgeous! I can imagine how nice it must be for you to have that done after you have been so busy. I especially like the trees coming out of the boxwoods!

  4. Blessed. That is how I feel. I’ve been devouring your blog and learning so much. I wonder if you know how many “students” you are mentoring. The list of lessons are great. Most of
    all a generosity beyond compare. You share such a range of information and you always make sure others receive the praise that is due them. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge as well as images of your personal space. You are the coolest chick ever.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Lisa, this is such a nice comment I don’t really know what to say. I am happy to tell anyone how I see and do things. The way I see it, there cannot be too many gardeners out there. If I am able to help someone else be successful with their garden, that makes me feel useful. Thanks so so much for your letter. Deborah

  5. I felt like my heart stopped for a moment. It is so beautiful and serene.
    Thank you for sharing this dream.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Zoya, thanks so much. It is so peaceful to come home to. It has been a dream-the making of this garden. My working life is anything but serene-it is a great change of pace to come home. Thanks again, Deborah

  6. Serene and stunning. Exquisite. !

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