Late In The Week: Nature

Thank heavens that the garden has gone to sleep.  What I have had to do this year to keep my perennials happy-lots of time and effort.  I have old maples with girdling roots, and Princeton Gold maples, arborvitae, and boxwood that need yearly pruning.  Big branches of my clematis succumbed to wilt.  The roses-I have not looked at them in weeks.  The fall anemones-so so.  The taxus has trouble.  My annual pots were the worst ever this summer.  I wholly blame my choices, but the rainy and cold summer weather did not much help me out.  The coming of the fall was welcome-who wants to spend more than five minutes looking at the results of a lost summer? Fall-I could not wait.  My  fall season was brief and unremarkable.  Do I need to redesign??     Fall came abruptly to an end-many weeks ago.

Our recent work in anticipation of winter involved chopping frozen soil out of lots of pots.  No matter how warmly I dressed, the bone chilling cold took my breath away.  None of the pictures of the work tell the story of the cold. What a relief that I have been at this winter work long enough to have engineered a method by which most of the work gets done indoors.  The ability to work indoors means the work gets done with dispatch.  But no matter what we do in the shop, the installation happens outdoors.  My crews are troupers to the last. They know how to break the ice, and warm up the winter gardening season.

Planting spring flowering bulbs was a challenge this fall.  Nature saw fit to go to the cold very early. Planting bulbs involved chopping into fearsomely cold soil. I am not sorry that all of the bulbs are safely entrenched below ground.  What is usually an easy exercise was this year a study in persistence.  The fall color this year-not so swell.  I only have one word to explain this phenomena-nature.  Every year there is some unanticipated phenomena.  That would be best described as nature, naturally. We have had 6 inches of snow today.  Not that it wasn’t beautiful.  But 6 inches in mid December?

I regularly read a blog from Kansas-oh yes.  He doesn’t post so much, but what he does post is of great value.  I read every word, sometimes twice.  He once said that nature bats last.  No kidding.  I am within 3 projects of being done for this season.  Once we have closed out the landscape work for the season, I will decorate at home, for the holiday, and the winter.  Today, I was too weary to do much of anything.  But tomorrow I am sure I will be better rested.  Nature is an ally, a foe, a mystery, a phenomena, a wonder, a treasure, a challenge, a friend, an exasperation, a respite – but above all, a way of life.  More tomorrow,  Deborah



  1. You inspire me in what you say, your designs, and how hard you and your team work. Thank you for sharing what you do.

  2. debra phillips @ 5th and state says

    the wonderfully diverse bulbs i carefully chose in england remain in their mesh. my clients home are complete, except for those we could not get to due to frozen soil. how on earth do you break thru. we have tried picks, boiling water, a blow torch……..nada.

    our own homes are always last, so tired i may do nothing at home this year.

    thank you for all you “give” deborah

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Debra, my crew uses big mason’s chisels and a small sledge hammer-designed to shear concrete and stone. But they use them carefully! Broken pots are not the idea. Little pots may respond to the hot water treatment-on the base of the pot. Once we pry it loose from the ground, we take it into a garage to thaw. For clients whose pots we maintain, we take down the soil in the pots 4-6 inches when doing the fall cleanup. The only thing that has to go into the soil are the ballast poles-we do not stick any material in earth. I was afraid I would do nothing at home for the holidays too-so I scheduled our company holiday party at my house next week. That’s a lot of encouragement! Also, I have slept 10 hours a night for 2 nights-good sleep helps. The emotionally tired part takes longer to fade-but it will. Always good to hear from you, Deborah PS-I would throw those bulbs from England in some pots, and winter them in your garage. If they freeze solid, they may rot. It can’t hurt to try!

  3. oh do I love to listen to you carry on

  4. Julia Hofley says

    Today’s snow reminded me of being a little kid and playing in the snow with my brothers. We lived on a corner lot with a wide swath of sidewalk and that required a lot of snow shoveling and many brotherly antics.
    Milo was in his full glory out there in the white stuff and that look on his face makes me smile still. He is truly adorable. Howard let me pet him today for the first time. It was a good day.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Julia, Milo is a four season herding dog-this morning he was leaping over the snow, as his legs are too short to walk through it. Howard on the other hand….It was a good day-you are right. Deborah

  5. You have to be the most persistent, determined and resourceful person I know. You don’t give up even when the weather tries to defeat you – you and your team find a way. Sleep is definitely the best remedy to get you through tough times and restore much needed energy to complete your last remaining tasks. Your team are troopers but you certainly lead by example.

    On another note…. my son & d-i-l are just finalising the adoption of siblings, a brother and sister – and their choice for their new son’s name is to be MILO – who’d have thought – so everyday I shall be reminded of someone who is special to you!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Jean, all my best to them and their children. Love the name Milo. You might be interested in the provenance of my Milo’s name. An English friend in the lead pot business has 2 children-named Milo and Lettice. I do like the names. Should I ever go off the deep end and get a third corgi, I would name her Lettice. Thanks for writing, Deborah

  6. Only three project left for the season….wow….you DESERVE a break, my dear.
    The snow, for this one with Minnesota in his DNA, a joy to behold. It woke me up.
    Winter….here we come.

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