A Few Thoughts On Turning 68

June 15th was my 68th birthday. I had never intended or planned to be 68, but there it was, and here it is. I will admit the idea and the reality of it stung some. Turns out I did not have to go that milestone alone. Rob and I have worked together 26 years, meaning he knows me fairly well. He knew I was coming up on a moment threatening to pitch me into the weeds. His idea was to counter that with peonies. Lots of them. He has good instincts. It is no secret that I have a big love for peonies. In the early 1990’s, when we first started working together, I had rows and rows of peonies lined out like crops in a big block in one big section of my 5 acres. I would guess I had peonies numbering in the hundreds of plants. Divine, this. Every year, buffalo grass came up between the peonies. Did I plan for that grass?  No. Those peonies and that unexpected gorgeous grass was an unforgettable experience. The day before my birthday, bucket loads of peonies and cut branches of mock orange were delivered to the store. I was flooded with good memories.

Rob arranged and set the bouquet pictured above on my conference table.  A 68th birthday was beginning to look a little better. I am just as enamored of peonies now as I was 45 years ago. Happily, some things in a gardening life stay the course. It is good to know that despite the years that have gone by, my interest in plants is as strong as ever. And the interest in certain plants is a flame that still burns bright. I have no peonies in the landscape and garden at home that I have tended for the past 20 some years. But I have planted lots of them for clients. I am satisfied that I have done some small part to keep peonies a part of the landscape.

I have been a gardener for 45 years. I have been a landscape and garden designer for near as long. So what would I have to say after all these years in the profession, at the age of 68?  Every experience is an opportunity to add to your knowledge and understanding. Take that opportunity, and hold it close. Trust your own instincts. How you garden does not have to work for anyone else but you. If you design for yourself, indulge your eye and your inclinations. If you garden for others, be sure you represent your client a little more than you represent yourself.

Failure in the garden and landscape can be a good friend, truly. Fear of failure is mostly about fear. Failure is an emotionally charged word for what ought to be called plan B. The A plan is not necessarily the best plan. I have seen some E plans that were quite impressive. E plans are A plans that have been rethought, reconsidered, reworked, polished, and tuned up. Your E plans might be good, should you give them a chance. Every gardener matures, and evolves. Evolution is a process that can inform every gardening effort, if you let it. Give the eye that God gave you a chance to be.

Under no circumstances do I believe that the ability to generate great design is a gift. Great designing is the outcome of the mix of hard work, experience, imagination and nerve. Every person comes with a lot of things, standard issue. A confident and coherent voice surely comes with a person hood, though it may take some time to mature. That voice of yours just needs a free rein and some nurturing.  I do subscribe to certain gardening and design practices, as they work for me. What works for me is no more and no less than just that. Every gardener needs to discover what works for them, and proceed accordingly.  No doubt the best part of tending a garden is that there is the opportunity to team up with nature and make something grow. We all do that differently.

I know the cultivar names, history and growth particulars about all of these peonies. Rob knew that would be so. I did a good job growing peonies. That ability to grow them was not so special.  I wanted to grow them, so I took the time to learn how. But these cut flowers were indeed special. This beautiful and fragrant birthday bouquet conjured up gardening memories spanning many years. In my opinion, the best design in the garden and landscape calls up those memories and moments that are important.

I photographed my birthday peonies every day, after I had taken some time to simply enjoy them. They made me remember why I became a gardener. They made me certain that I had made a good choice to become a landscape designer. Turning 68 doesn’t change that.

Some blooms held perfectly for better than a week.

The Coral Charm peonies maintained their form, but the color faded to a creamy pale yellow.

Just a few days ago, the petals began to drop. I could hear them hitting the table surface. That was a new experience of peonies. I cannot really explain why that sound was so enchanting. Except to say that I just turned 68.

Al Goldner once told me that the only regret he had as a landscape designer was that he was never bold enough. That has always stuck with me, but at 68 I understand what he meant. There is time to do something with that. There is purpose, meaning and beauty in every step of a life.

Comments

  1. Beautiful! And congratulations!
    At 75, I’m still gardening every day and still a “plant geek”. The appreciation and love of nature only grow stronger.
    You inspire us all!

  2. Deborah, I always read and enjoy your posts but seldom take the time to comment. This one was too good not to comment. You truly have a unique voice as a garden writer; I hope your passion for writing about gardening stays as strong as your passion for gardening. Thank you for your inspiring words and perspective!

  3. Kathy Parsons says

    Happy Birthday. Here’s to another wonderful year amongst the flowers.

  4. Jane Cruickshank says

    But what both you and Al Goldner have done is leave a lasting imprint on so many gardens and even more gardeners. The landscape design you did with Al Goldner in 1985 still stands and is the basis for years of teaching a non- gardener the joys of working in the soil. The added bonus is Detroit Garden Works. Sheer bliss especially when the 68 has a lot of pluses…..

  5. Karen Knight says

    Lovely thoughts and good advice. Happy gardening into a new age – it is always different that is for sure. I am just verging on 67 and it is a marvel. Happy Birthday and thank you for your posts!

  6. Happiest of belated birthdays Deborah. You bring so much beauty to so many and Rob bringing buckets of so much beauty to you is incredibly appropriate. All the best, always.

  7. Diane Jaeger says

    What a beautiful post Deborah,,,, and Happiest of Birthdays!! I have never commented before, but read these regularly,,, and have been so impressed and touched by your work for quite some time. What you write here is so pertinent,, so ‘ right on ‘, and so from the heart and soul,,, 68? It is a good number that is serving you well! I am a garden designer as well,, not to your caliper,, but love what I do, and just recently turned 64,,, I too never meant to be this age, but here is it, and the only thing we can do now is revel in it all and be grateful for the experiences we have had, in life and in the garden. You inspire me!

  8. Lisa Yzerman says

    Happy Belated Birthday and I loved this post! My peonies garden you did for us is my favorite part of our backyard!

  9. Dianne McKinnon says

    Love this article. It can be applied to many more things than peonies. Happy #68. Wishing you many more!!!

  10. Oh My Gosh! What a wonderful column. Important lessons here. You made my day.

  11. Happy Birthday!! Sharing your skill, knowledge and passion is a gift to all of us gardeners ❤️ Thank you for your wisdom. I need to remember – there is purpose, meaning and beauty in every step of a life!

  12. Loved this- great perspective and your blog always speaks to me. Happy birthday- you are a gift to us all.

  13. Deborah Polansky says

    Happy Birthday! I turned 68 in January. Thanks for your gift of peonies and reflections on gardening , the fear of failure, and the potential of Plan E.

  14. Silvia Weber says

    Dear Deborah,
    Wishing you a very happy belated birthday- and many happy returns of the Day!
    Obviously, you have much to live for, not the least of which includes an enduring love of, and for, Rob and peonies. His gift of those gorgeous Peonies would melt anyone’s heart.
    With lots of love and all best wishes,
    Silvia and Gerry
    PS: Aunt Teedie turns 101 July 8th!!!!
    See you soon!

  15. A belated Happy Birthday to you Deborah…such a beautiful post to star my day today…thank you…and I hope you have many more wonderful birthdays

  16. Amy Ryberg says

    Dear Deborah,
    Wishing you such a happy birthday! Wonderful reflection on aging, gardening, life lessons. I met you years ago when you were at Hughes Gardens. You encouraged me to try plants I’d never heard of, and I continue to practice that lesson. It’s been a joy to watch your development as a major force in the gardening community. Wishes for many more years of flowering!

  17. Barbara Snith says

    You have always been known as an landscape designer extraordinaire and now we can add philosopher,,,,,,,HAPPY BIRTHDAY

    Self appointed Pres of your fan club

  18. Mary A Mahto says

    Beautiful post in everyvway. Happy Belated Birthday, looks like it was a gorgeous one for you. Peonies have also held a special place in this gardener’s life for as long as I was a school child and if the peonies blossomed some years earlier enough I brought them to my school teacher (cut from my mother’s garden in Minnesota.) As a previous post stated , you inspire us!

  19. Christine Beck says

    It seems your birthday was as special as you are. What a blessing to have people in your life that know exactly the perfect gift to make the transition from one year to the next go so smooth.
    All my best wishes to you.

  20. Jeannine says

    Happy Birthday Deborah! Not only are you a very talented designer you have a gift of writing. Your words of wisdom make us all pause and think for a time. Our life journey is built upon our experiences but I like my Grandmother am saying I wish I were twenty years younger but know what I know now. We love your posts! Each one a gift to us! Blessings to you on your 68th.

  21. Cathy Dickson says

    Deborah, Belated Birthday wishes!! Such a beautiful gift from a warm and caring heart. You are only a few months older than I and I consider that I started my gardening path about nearly 60 years ago (I was about 8 or 10). Your thoughts resonate with me; each garden (through 4 homes) has started with common ideas and formed like the property wants them to be. They are never ‘done’ and weeds are the bane of my existence, but those gardens are a calm refuge from the real world. Thank you for sharing your home and work lives and such special gardens! Cathy

  22. Roberta Bresette says

    Happy Birthday Deborah! It is really lovely to be 68! 70 is much harder. I will be 78 soon so now looking at the 80 thing! I grew up on a farm in Iowa and there was a peony farm next door. I loved the rows and rows of peonies. I can still remember the lovely soft fragrance. It was hard to pick a favorite as every blossom was so incredibly beautiful! Peonies have such wonderful moist petals—-I wish my skin could have that same moist freshness. There should be peony lotion and face creams. Maybe that can be your next project??

  23. Happy Birthday, keep bending, stretching, growing. I have decided to be a hardy perennial. It is my wish for you.

  24. beautiful. Thanks for sharing your insights on life (I mean Peonies).

  25. I never was supposed to see 68. Twelve years ago I was given 3 to 5 years to live so I am well past my expiration date.
    I love gardening. What has kept up my spirits more than anything has been my four separate gardens around my neighborhood and each one has peonies. I don’t remember how I stumbled onto this web site, but I enjoy it so much!!

    Happy Birthday and many happy peonies in your future!

  26. Diane Anderson says

    Very happy and belated birthday! You are such an inspiration to us all. Please share what the small white flowers are in the back of the cart full of peonies. If it is a peony I must have it. I, too, have an extensive collection of peonies including my beautiful tree peonies. Best wishes to an incredibly talented and generous idol of mine. Thank you!

  27. Bon anniversaire mon cher Deborah! I am always inspired & influenced by your infectious passion for gardening! I always adore getting your notifications, I get excited, saying to myself, Oh Great another post from Deborah! I love Peonies too, in Florida, sadly they seem to not find zone 8 their favorite! Beautiful flower just like you! Bon Anniversaire mon cher !

  28. Alicia Whitaker says

    Happy Birthday! Such an inspiring post. I share your love of peonies and look forward to seeing them all year. Sending you peony love!

  29. Deborah Norman says

    Thank you for your wisdom!
    Happy Birthday. Think of how much you’ve learned over these wonderful years. Please keep sharing.

  30. Sheryl Kammer says

    Beautiful written memories. Happy birthday.

  31. Carole in East Chatham NY says

    My birthday is in May, and I’ve always believed that has a lot to do with my love of gardening.
    Twenty five years ago I bought a 1790 brick Federal house with 65 acres. It has been a love affair with the house and the garden.

    The garden only came with a huge bed of peonies — or that was all that survived of the garden. Those peonies seem to be self propagating…and new ones just appear like divine magic every spring.

    I enjoy your posts…… keep them coming….. your writing and thoughts are inspirational.
    Carole in East Chatham

  32. Nancy Edwards says

    Happy Birthday!

  33. Happy Birthday to a multi talented woman, artist, designer, gardener, writer. I love your posts and your inspirations. You have touched and inspired many and I hope you continue to share your gifts.

  34. Moonlight says

    Happy belated 68th Birthday!

  35. Lisa at Greenbow says

    I loved reading ‘garden like you want to and be damned to those who don’t like it’, only you said it much more eloquently than I. Happiness is a garden with all that you love in it even it is the plop plop of peony plumes. The best to you always, enjoy your 69th year as well. Happy happy.

  36. Paula popowski says

    Happy happy and many more! Your posts make me happy to be a designer.
    And those peonies!!!

  37. Frani Willis says

    I am seventy-four and still maintain my garden and the five acres surrounding it. I am adding native plants and trees to build a sustainable habitat for native wildlife, a wildlife habitat “garden”. I do find that I get less done as the work is tiring but I do the labor for all of it by myself (I am so blessed to have good health!). Oh, how I wish we could grow peonies and lilacs in South Georgia!!! Hugs

  38. Patricia Mullan says

    Lovely and inspiring. Thanks for sharing this and all the work and beauty you bring into our lives.

  39. Happy Birthday to you, Deborah! Thank you for sharing your stories! They are so uplifting and inspire me to be better as a gardener and a woman.

  40. I loved this post, as I turned 68 on June 19! Yes flowers evoke memories, and peonies certainly do for me. My mom had several of them in our small Detroit garden and she always had lovely arrangements when they were in bloom. This year I discovered yellow peonies. A friend has grown one in her peony garden. It is just beautiful with a strong fragrance. I then saw my second one at the Farmers Market in Elk Rapids, MI. I was told it took two years to come into full bloom. It was large, fragrant and a perfect shade of yellow. Happy “shared” birthday Deborah. You delight and inspire.

  41. Happy Birthday

  42. Susie Duquet says

    Beautiful post, as usual! My late father’s birthday was June !5th. Happy belated birthday to you, Deborah!!

  43. Happy Birthday, Deborah! Loved this post!

  44. Happy Birthday, Deborah! This post really hit home!

  45. Happy birthday, Deborah! I share your love of peonies and was excited to read your essay and see your photos. Thank you for the lovely piece!

  46. Michaele Anderson says

    I loved this post and immensely enjoyed all the comments it inspired. You have not only made a visible difference in your immediate gardening world but also in the vastly expansive cyber world of gardening. We are all better, more knowledgeable and more self accepting gardeners thanks to Dirt Simple. Belated Happy Birthday and have a great year.

  47. nancy Bernstein says

    Deborah, i have enjoyed your posts for quite some time. This one…really settled right onto my heart. My mother died when i was three, I have ALWAYS loved peonies and have them in my garden. We had them all along our home growing up, but I only recently discovered it was one of my mothers favorites! Your description felt the way I feel about those stunning blooms! Thank you for your many years of beautiful writing, linking us to the earth. Be well, HAPPIEST of birthdays:)

  48. Dear Deborah,

    Happy, happy birthday! A wonderful blog to read this morning.

    What a momentous time it is to turn 68 — born in 1950 (me too), marking 50 years since h.s. graduation (guessing for you..in ’68), and then turning 68. . Exhilarating and breathtaking at the same time. Ours is a generation that has lived through enormous upheaval — The Vietnam war, political assassinations, duck-and-cover drills of the Cuban missile crisis era, civil rights protests, and a cultural revolution.
    Oh my, the things we’ve seen!
    And through all those stages of upheaval, I recalled from watching my mother ( ‘greatest generation’ ) was the sanctity of every-day rituals to keep order in your world. For her, it was first and foremost tending her garden. Unfortunately I didn’t pay close enough attention to how she actually made a garden. Instead, I did other things.

    Before I discovered your blog, I didn’t make a garden. But your teaching, designs, images, and elegant writing set me on a path to create spaces for living things. Now I have a garden.

    Thank you for all you’ve shared. The images in this post have made me re-think what peonies mean. They have a whole new textured and rich dimension that I’ll always think of as I join you in turning in 68.

    Wishing you a wonderful and continued celebration,
    Terry

  49. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Terry, so many thanks for your letter. I will remember it. I know you have been reading for a long time. I appreciate that. The impetus to write this blog was a seed that began decades ago with how I was raised. My Mom, a teacher, counseled me that if I were able to teach, I should. That seed sprouted, and has grown. For me, the writing is a way of sorting out how I feel about the work I do. But it is also about passing along what I have learned to the next generation of gardeners and designers. If anything I have written encouraged you to garden, then I am so happy. all the best to you, Deborah

  50. Deborah Silver says

    dear Nancy, a link to the earth is what drives every gardener. all the best to you, Deborah

  51. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Michaele, you have been a reader for a good many years-thank you. I so look forward to your comments. We are all better, given a garden-yes we are. best reagrds, Deborah

  52. Deborah Silver says

    Thank you for writing, Nita. What is not to love about peonies?? best, Deborah

  53. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Margaret, thanks for your birthday wishes. The garden is home for a lot of us. best regards, Deborah

  54. Deborah Silver says

    Dear M, love you for writing!! best, Deborah

  55. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Susie, your father and I share a date. I feel certain that the 15th of June is a moment we share. kind regards to you. Deborah

  56. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Steve, thank you so much for your birthday wishes! I truly appreciate it. all the best, Deborah

  57. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Nina, we have a relationship over the garden. I so appreciate that you read. And I appreciate that you take the time to write me about your gardening life. thanks, Deborah

  58. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Holly, I am a big fan of women doing well. best regards, Deborah

  59. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Patricia, your life and mine-we share some work and some beauty.Right? best regards, Deborah

  60. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Frani,you are an inspiration to me.I mean this. Hugs!!!! Deborah

  61. Liz Manugian says

    I join all the others in wishing for you many more happy, healthy gardening-filled years! Thanks for your inspirational birthday post. Just one year behind you in age, it is good to be reminded (lest we forget) that every step of our journey is meaningful and beautiful.

  62. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Paula, all of us designers share so much. Happy happy to you, too! kind regards, Deborah

  63. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Lisa, how you grow your garden is your mission. Stay the course! I am right there with you. best, Deborah

  64. Deborah Silver says

    Thank you, Moonlight!

  65. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Pat, I do believe that every person comes with talents. That includes you, Pat. I am happy to share. I am more than happy to hear from you.I am touched and inspired by your letter. thanks for writing. best regards. Deborah

  66. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Nancy, thank you!! Deborah

  67. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Carol,a May birthday for a gardener is a good birthday indeed. We both love peonies-right? Thanks for writing. all the est, Debrah

  68. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Sheryl, memories play a big part in every person’s life. I love mine.I am sure you love yours too. thanks for writing. all the best Deborah

  69. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Deborah, Learning and sharing is work worth doing. Thanks for writing! all the best, Deborah

  70. Beautiful flowers for a beautiful occasion! Happy Birhday Deborah! My peonies did not bloom this year, so sad. I thoroughly enjoyed viewing your bouquet and sharing your birthday gift! What a delightful celebration!

  71. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Liz, many thanks! Every step of the journey is important-as you say. Thanks again. all the best, Deborah

  72. Christina says

    Dear Deborah,

    First and foremost, Happy 68th. And what an astoundingly beautiful bouquet with which to mark the occasion. I remember a post of yours from a few years ago about your scrapbook of peony photographs from a convention you attended when you were, well, a much younger, but equally enthusiastic, fancier of peonies. When my siblings and I sold the wonderful New England farmstead that had been in our family for three generations, the most important memento I took from it was a Festiva Maxima peony that had been planted by my grandmother and tended by my mother for well over half a century. It is now flourishing in central New Jersey and the sight of it in bloom every May never fails to transport me to another time and place.

    In his book On Old Age (and elsewhere), Cicero had a few thoughts on gardening that seem apt on this, your 68th birthday:

    “By means of our hands we struggle to create a second world within the world of nature… I follow nature as my surest guide, and resign myself with an implicit obedience to her sacred ordinances… If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.”

  73. I too am a big peony fan, and I love every shot of your birthday bouquet. It’s just lovely, and the later pics of it as it ages are stages that we we seldom see in photos. They are lovely too. Your post is gracefully written. Happy Birthday!

  74. Deborah, I too will turn 68 in August. My son’s birthday is June 15. I love reading everything you write and photos you post. I have always loved to garden and you have inspired me to strive for perfection. My planters are more beautiful each season because of you. Thank you!

  75. Deborah Silver says

    Thank you, Alicia!

  76. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Suzanna, you should find a source for cut peonies when they are in season-I so enjoyed mine. best, Deborah

  77. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Diane, the little white flowers are cut branches of the shrub mockorange. I was amazed at how well they held up. all the best, Deborah

  78. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Jean, I am happy to hear you are tending peonies. I cannot imagine the gardening world without them. thanks for you best wishes, Deborah

  79. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Jim, so good to hear from you. One can only hope to have an insight now and then!! best, Deborah

  80. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Ellen, thank you. So far, so good. best regards, Deborah

  81. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Roberta, those petals are truly amazing, yes. I miss my peony farm-but this bouquet was good. all the best, Deborah

  82. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Cathy, writing these essays has been a pleasure for me-and hearing from other gardeners is the best part of all. thanks, Deborah

  83. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Jeannine, being older has its challenges. But there is plenty of good in it. regards, Deborah

  84. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Christine, I do have a terrific group, no doubt. Those peonies were miraculous to watch over the course of a week. all my best to you, Deborah

  85. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Mary, it was a very good birthday indeed. When mine would bloom, I would take lots of them to my Mom so she could enjoy them too. She was always so delighted to get them. thanks for your letter. Deborah

  86. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Mary, many thanks for your letter. A garden is the best fun when it can be shared. all the best, Deborah

  87. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Barbara, it was a beautiful gift that set me to thinking-yes. thanks for your good wishes! best regards, Deborah

  88. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Amy, Hughes Gardens! That was a very long time ago indeed. I am happy to hear you are still gardening-bravo. all the best, Deborah

  89. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Greg, thank you for your note. This was an essay that I wrote over the course of a week. It states the obvious-gardening is good for people. best, Deborah

  90. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Silvia, thanks for your letter. Yes, the 11th cruise is coming up! See you soon. best, Deborah

  91. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Deborah, ha, another 68 year old! The potential of plan E is considerable. Sometimes it takes that long. best regards, Deborah

  92. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Heather, the garden is a gift to me like no other. I would have a poor life indeed without it. I am certainly gardening differently than I did in the 20’s, but I am gardening nonetheless. all the best, Deborah

  93. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Abbe, a positive approach is easier, being a gardener. Nature is a nurturer to all. thanks for your birthday wishes. best, Deborah

  94. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Lori, it feels great to have gotten so many letters about this post. Its a party! best regards, Deborah

  95. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Diane, thanks for your letter and birthday wishes. May we both have plenty more! regards, Deborah

  96. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Lisa, how I loved getting your pictures of your peony bouquets! It was so thoughtful of you to send them to me. Many thanks, best, Deborah

  97. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Diane, it is always so satisfying when a person writes in to say what I have written means something to them. Thank you for that. All these letters re an inspiration to me! best regards, Deborah

  98. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Suzy, that Rob is a keeper, yes. all the best to you too-always. Deborah

  99. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Karen, thank you for your birthday wishes-and for reading. That is what keeps me writing. all the best, Deborah

  100. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Jane, it is so satisfying that your landscape looks so beautiful-it is a testament to your care. You are every bit a gardener! all my best to you, Deborah

  101. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Kathy, yes, to another year. I am game. thanks, Deborah

  102. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Mary, I am always so pleased to hear from you. It means a lot to me, as you are a garden writer that I admire. Many thanks, Deborah

  103. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Ann, the appreciation of nature does grow stronger as I get older. It is a comfort to be part of that. I hope I will still be gardening in one way or another at 75-you are an inspiration. best regards, Deborah

  104. I felt the same way about turning 40. Dont think 68 will feel any better. Love peonies but what helped more was watching Golden Girls. Made getting older look much less scary. Happy birthday!!!

  105. Birthday greetings from Canada!

    Lovely post, and lovely peonies, Deborah. It may be your birthday, but your blog is such a gift and inspiration to your readers.

  106. cynthiawoodyard says

    Thank you! I’m right here with you, yes! Be bold!

  107. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Cynthia, ha! let’s both be bold! all the best, Deborah

  108. “We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw

    Happy 68, Deborah. Keep on playing.

  109. Pat Parks says

    I’m 69 in September mockorange AND peonies?!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Love your words and work. Stay bold, for sure, and happy 68th year!!

  110. Nella Miller says

    Dear Deborah, happy birthday! I read each and every post coming to my inbox, although I rarely respond, I am so appreciative of your writings…you have many gifts….
    Your thoughts and expressions here about gardening and life, reaffirm my love of gardening and Nature…where I am happiest! I am in my 68th year as well, I have been gardening a long time….it has saved me many times…I look forward to your posts….they are always a pleasure to read first thing in my day! Thank you!

  111. Susan Molina says

    Happy, Happy Birthday! Wishing you many more years in the garden…

  112. Nature will keep you forever young Deborah

  113. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Elsa, some days nature wears me out!! best, Deborah

  114. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Nella, thank you for reading! all the best, Deborah

  115. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Susan, I hope I have many more years there too. thank you, Deborah

  116. Charisse Andrews says

    Happy Birthday to you. I also love Peonies, and recently added a new book Peonies, by Jane Astoe to my library. How lucky you are that they bloom in time for your birthday! I wish you many, many more happy years in your gardens where the senses take delight in the movement of a butterfly and the bloom of a flower, feeding your spirit through thick and thin. Blessings to you in the coming year.

  117. Ana Pflueger says

    Happy birthday Deborah Silver! You’re a true artist at heart.

  118. Jennifer Taylor says

    What a beautiful post Nella. I feel the same way, yet I could not express myself as eloquently as you. Thank you for speaking for me as well. Happy Birthday dear Deborah!

  119. Linda Johnson says

    Thank you for such lovely thoughts about turning 68 Deborah. I will be turning 68 July 21 and I too have been thinking about what a long time that is and how many years of gardening I have done.

    Your blog has been such an inspiration to me and given me so many ideas and encouragements. You are so transparent with your experiments and successes. You make artistic gardening seem easy and I know it is not. You have such an eye for what works and you work hard too.

    Happy Birthday and may this year be blessed with many beautiful days !

  120. Sue Lowery says

    Happy Birthday! I too, love your blog and love your peonies. I have one that belonged to my great grandmother, and was passed down to my grandmother and then to me. These are truly spectacular.

  121. Chela Canler says

    Dear Deborah. Even if I don’t know you personally,(yet) I can tell how beautiful inside and out you are. Such an inspiration. So happy that I found your blog.
    I too, will be 68 in July (27) and I feel blessed. Happy birthday !

  122. Ruth Wolery says

    Happy Belated Birthday Deborah,
    I am so happy for you and your peonies. I have a few and do love them too. I admire your gardening and all you do.
    Thank you so much for sharing. I belong to 2 garden clubs and participate in our flower shows. It is a wonderful way to meet nice friends to share and grow.
    Ruth Wolery – Ohio

  123. Deborah,

    The generosity and grace with which you share wisdom offers such a light to the world. It is so rare to find any content with the authenticity and positive honesty that you uphold. This post in particular is monumental in the sentiments it offers–i will print it and keep it nearby for a frequent reminder of the insights. You are such a light in this world…I hope you find peace with 68..and 69..and 70… as so many hearts celebrate your gifts; you must join the celebration. Bright blessings.

  124. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Hannah, thank you so much for your lovely letter. best regards, Deborah

  125. Deborah, Belated Happy Birthday Wishes! Thank you for sharing your gift of design, your writing, insights and photos. I think a book compiling your top posts would sell extremely well and immortalize your work/insights.
    I am late in responding as I have been to my aunt’s funeral (age 89) in New Orleans. Her life was celebrated by her family (many children, grandchildren and great-grands) and friends since she lived every day as the life of the party, young at heart, with a strong faith, a creator of beautiful spaces and parties, happy children and adults. She outlived two husbands and a son and was my father’s baby sister. I also visited my sister-in-law who, at a very young 61, is about at the end of her life. She too is a beautiful, generous, lively and fun lady with a deep spirituality who spread joy among her family, children, grandchildren and friends. Sad for my aunt, tragic for my sister-in-law, but both would say this is why we should all Love Each Other Day of our Lives and Get the Most of Life Each Day. Blessings to all of the Beautiful people who read your wisdom. Your shop is on my bucket list!

  126. Happy Belated Birthday, Deborah! I, too, am a lover of Peonies and your bouquets make me sigh with delight. Thinking of you and your birthday whisks me back to Mr. Hughes and his exceptional delight in gardening. He was a kindly character. I so wish I had kept the double bloodroot he gave me when we moved! Here’s to many more birthdays – I’m right behind you!

  127. Deborah, again Happy Birthday! I know it was some time ago but wishes are honored. You did a very good job and also Rob does! Bouquets are really beautiful.. Every year I grow peonies because I like them very much. My favourite seeds are from https://gardenseedsmarket.com/aster-seeds/ because they offer a big range of peonies in various colours and bouquets made of them look stunning!

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