What is decoration? The dictionary says it is something that is added to something else to make it more attractive. As awkward as this might sound, I think this sums it up rather well. It is indeed a certain special and personal something added to an ordinary something. Others say it is the act of adorning, embellishing or honoring. A one word description of decoration might be ornamentation. All manner of living creatures decorate their home, nest or self with the idea of attracting a potential mate. From the most simple to the most sophisticated level, people decorate. Many decorate their homes for specific holidays. Bakers decorate cakes based on an expression for special occasion. Some people hang bunting in celebration of the 4th of July. Some fashion houses embroider over a selected fabric, for beauty’s sake. Those of us who wear glasses welcome the opportunity to wear a beautiful pair of glasses. Everyone decorates the place where they live to make is more personal and pleasing. That decoration may take the form of paint, furniture, flooring, art, hardware, rugs-the list of decorative elements from which to choose is long. Anyone who wishes to decorate has not only hundreds of years of precedence, but also an astonishing range of choices.

Where am I going with this? Gardeners plant trees, shrubs and perennials. They dig beds, and plant. We all plant for different reasons.  Some need a place to sit in the shade. Others like to grow vegetables. Some plant in a way friendly to their kids, or their age. Others favor a landscape that is friendly to company. But no doubt a good bit of planting that gardeners do has to do with an expression of beauty. Decorating a container with plants is a satisfying way to celebrate the season.

The meaning of beauty is far too wide a topic for me to address. I find it tough to write about what constitutes beauty, as everyone’s opinion is different. Maybe the best part of beauty is the process by which people create it.  Most gardeners have an idea of what constitutes beauty in the garden, and they plant towards that. Gardens of great age are gardens that have evolved, as nothing in a garden ever stands still.  Any planting needs to be appropriate to the location and the existing conditions. That is a given. But what lies beyond the given?

A beautiful celebration of the fall season is enchanting. Anyone who chooses to plant their containers for fall have months of beauty ahead of them. The opportunity for creating beauty exists in all of our gardening seasons. Planting containers for fall comes just in time to let go of the waning summer plants.

I am a big fan of the ornamental cabbage and kale for fall containers. They tolerate the late summer and early fall heat, and they endure the coming of the cold. Cool weather initiates a brilliant coloration in the leaves. The kale pictured above will eventually sport leaves of turquoise, purple and cerise pink.  I have had ornamental cabbage and kale looking great in to January. Our crop this year is exceptional.

Container plantings are quite unlike garden and landscape installations. They express the beauty of the moment.

cabbage “Rosebud”

cabbage, kale and broomcorn

Redbor kale

welcome to fall.


  1. bravo!

  2. Mallory Buhler says

    Wow, just wow! Do you know of anyone in Utah that does this type of thing? Thanks so much!

    • Thank you so much for the gorgeous, up close, photos and cabbage and kale cultivar names. I can’t buy the plants locally, since I live in the middle of nowhere, but I can plant them from seed next year to decorate next fall.

  3. Liane miller says

    OMG they are so Big I have never seen Ornamental cabbage/kale like this BIG. I wonder how they do that? I love fall what a wonderful post I love it.
    Thank you

  4. Just left me pretty speechless Deborah! Kale is king!

  5. Jeanne Neivert says

    Wow ,Wow ,and Wow !!
    Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures !

  6. Samantha Parras says

    Love your posts!
    Hope all is well and a Happy Autumn to you!

  7. Wow.
    Breathtaking arrangements. Simply spectacular.
    As an artist you continue to outdo yourself.

  8. Eileen Ripp-Emerson says

    When do your plant these plants of Fall, in Spring so they are large and beautiful by Fall?

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Eileen, we have all of our cabbage and kale custom grown. This grower does an incredible job of it. So very pleased to have plants of this caliber to plant with.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Eileen, my grower plants in late summer for the cabbages and kales we are planting now. He grows them on at light speed! best, Deborah

  9. If only the deer would stay away from it. (yes, sprayed with every concoction. They think it’s salad dressing.)

  10. One word….Inspiring!!

  11. Stunning photos, as always. I’m particularly drawn to the last photo. Can you tell us the name of the plant that is so beautifully surrounding that gorgeous cabbage? They compliment each other perfectly. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Your work is so inspiring. Wish we could duplicate you in Central Ohio!

  13. Moth to a Flame, first time seeing your pots.

    Your pots are from a florist’s eye/brain/heart, but more.

    Living in the South, having color easily fall thru winter with Camellias, hellebores, daphne, edgeworthia, tea olive, etc. I settled upon pots the way the Queen Mother & Queen prefer, plus historical pots present, most often. Empty. Pots so incredible empty, they will be fought over at your estate sale.

    Then, after decades of, happy, empty, Queen’s Pots, I find YOU !

    Your skills and heart in celebration of fall/winter pots is mentoring, in finding joy. Have thought quite awhile you’re the Queen of Ministry, for the entire Galaxy, of POTS !

    Plants for pots, the types you minister into creation, is another topic. Have been saving lots of your pot pics recently, to share, so my clients can begin their plant hunting/gathering across the upcoming weeks, to create their own Deborah Silver Pots. Is there any other type?

    In the profession, plants of your caliber are not available to even me, unless I do what you do and contract for them at the start of the year.

    In appreciation of your Pot Ministry.

    BRAVA !

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  14. The Kale and Cabbage are fantastic! Where are you able to get the purple eucalyptus? And centerpieces pieces? I’ve seen some good things, but you always have some different things that look great!

  15. so artful as always….. i just love your work and thought process. I especially love how each arrangement speaks to, no, sings with, the color of the house it adorns.

  16. Janet Robinson says

    As always, your post is very inspirational!

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