What I Hope For

george_1I have made a career of designing landscapes yes, but I more importantly have forged relationships with people and the places they live. This one may want green rooms that provide  refuge, and that one may need space for children playing soccer, and another wants to evoke a memory of a favorite place, and another who wants nothing but roses and more roses-and yet another for whom trees planted in an ocean of rough grass is sublimely beautiful. If the project is successful, each of us in turn learns something about what we really want.  If I have my way, there will be discussion about the responsibility of stewardship, as opposed to the rights of ownership. After all, the dirt was there before each of us put our hand to it, and it is our responsibility that the hand we put to it now will leave it beautiful and healthy after us.
As a gardener, the issues of life and death are ordinary and unremarkable. Trees have a lifespan-some much longer than others-but none the less, a lifespan.  Perennials loving sun waste away and die in the shade in the same manner that rock garden plants rot and die planted in standing water.  Seedlings appear in unexpected places, and thrive despite some science which suggests the contrary.  A landscape seems very much like a speedboat my brother once had-no neutral, just forward or backward.  As an older gardener, I have keen interest in what I really want from gardening, and I have concern that I have given back to the dirt entrusted to me. I care about what I have passed on to others.  I hope a love and respect for dirt is first on that list.


Deborah Silver is a landscape and garden designer whose firm, Deborah Silver and Co Inc, opened its doors in 1986.  She opened Detroit Garden Works, a retail store devoted to fine and unusual garden ornament and specialty plants, in 1996.  In 2004, she opened the Branch studio, a subsidiary of the landscape company which designs and manufactures garden ornament in a variety of media.  Though her formal education is in English literature and biology, she worked as a fine artist in watercolor and pastel from 1972-1983.   A job in a nursery, to help support herself as an artist in the early 80’s evolved into a career in landscape and garden design.  Her landscape design and installation projects combine a thorough knowledge of horticulture with an artist’s eye for design.  Her three companies provide a wide range of products and services to the serious gardener.  She has been writing this journal style blog since April of 2009.