New Year’s

Detroit Garden Works winter 2015 (3)Christmas came and went, without the shop being fully dressed for winter. We had an incredibly busy season – that work has to come first. No one knows that better than I. But I have a love and a mission for making sure that our shop delights the eye of any gardener face to face with the winter season. The Branch crew constructed and hung the garland that is draped across the top of the roof boxes and all the way down to the ground on a Saturday in mid December. They added greens to the leading edge of the boxes behind the garland, for an especially lush look on the roof. That was a huge undertaking. It took 5 people just to haul it up an extension ladder to the roof. That was all we had going on for at least another week. The next Saturday all of the window boxes were filled with greens, and the 2 pots out front had twigs and greens. Christmas day afternoon, I constructed and set all of the centerpieces in the window boxes, and added small scale vine garlands to the greens, and pine cones to drape. Yes, Christmas afternoon.  Buck was rolling his eyes.  New Year’s Eve day, I had help from a sympathetic crew.  David found lights for the window boxes elsewhere, as we were out, and installed them.

Detroit Garden Works winter 2015 (14)I wanted something tree like at the front door. Dan and his landscape crew cut down a Siberian elm that was growing up through the gas meter at Branch, and set them into steel shoes in the bottom of a pair of fiber pots. Once the fiber pots were filled with gravel, these tall branches were stable. As I had a pine cone fest already going on, I decided to hang pine cones on these trees. Marzela and David did all of the work of it. Dan, my landscape super, named these trees Pinus Ulmus.  We all found this incredibly amusing. The fun of hanging pine cones on a deciduous tree aside, I wanted to bring some of the warm orangy brown of the cones and grapevine garland onto these pale gray branches.

Detroit Garden Works winter 2015 (4)The centerpieces in the window boxes are largely comprised of bunches of short branches that Rob had for sale in the shop. I can’t say what they are, I was looking at the height, color, and texture, and not the species.  The white tallow berry picks are artificial. They and the bleached pine cones add punch and punctuation to the mix. The roof garland features our new pin point LED lights. All of the light garlands are attached to the grapevine.

DSC_3726The two little leaf lindens outside the shop fence got a winter coat of natural curly willow. David got all of the bunches up against the trunk with the help of some bungee cords. Once he had every stem arranged to his satisfaction, he wired them on with concrete wire.  He and I covered that wire with two pine cone garlands wound around and secured to each tree. This is a warm look for winter.  Rob’s wire baskets with lights in the bottom, and a mass of twigs, got placed on either side of a birch faux bois bench.

Detroit Garden Works winter 2015 (5)We were looking like we were ready for the winter. This made me happy.

Detroit Garden Works winter 2015 (9)We have a very gray and dark season ahead of us. It is a tough time for anyone who gardens in a northern climate. The dark comes on in late afternoon, and does not abate until 8 am.  The cold has finally caught up with us. Michigan is renowned on the gray skies list-it ranks right up there. Having the shop with a display for winter will make the winter easier to bear. Every day when I walk to my office door, I will be glad for the warm blanket.  It is as simple as that.

Detroit Garden Works winter 2015 (10)I took this picture at 4:40 this afternoon. The yews and boxwood have gone to their winter black green. The dusting of snow looks chilly.

Detroit Garden Works winter 2015 (12)One of my most favorite items we sold in the shop for the winter are these strings of lights with giant bulbs. I have Rob to thank for these. The linden closest to the road will have this string lighted all winter long.  I come to work in the dark, and I park my car here in the winter.  The light these bulbs provide is adding lots of visual vitamin D to my daily life.

Detroit Garden Works winter 2015 (1)Happy New Year.





    Just WHEN has your shop not looked “in season” ?

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Madeline, we were exceptionally pokey getting there this year! But thanks for the compliment. Happy New Year to you! all the best, Deborah

  2. Cathy Peterson says

    Beautiful…imaginative. . .we need more of this during these short days.

  3. Ruthann Bajorek says

    Thank you for being so obsessive and getting the decorations done, even if it was at the last minute, Deborah. It lifts my spirits with its welcoming warmth. Happy New Year to you.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Ruthann, we have a long winter ahead of us-so I am on time in that regard! Happy New Year, best, Deborah

  4. debra phillips says

    happy new year deborah!

    thank you for another year of inspiration, stretching our horizons and imaginations

    health, happiness & prosperity for 2016!

  5. Looks very wintry to me, Deborah…but I live down South. The snow dusting makes everything so pretty. I just love those curly willow branches around the tree. You have a great eye for all this decorating that is why you can’t fix the shop. Everyone knows that and wants you to decorate for them. Love looking at your blog to see what and how you make a garden beautiful.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Thanks, Nancy. I like the winter garden just as much as any other season, although I am sure that come March, I will be ready to get outdoors again. best, Deborah

  6. Roger Boeve says

    Many thanks for all the joy you have sent me during 2015, by these emails, and best of health and happiness in 2016

    • Deborah Silver says

      Thank you very much, Roger. I hope the new year is a good one for you too. I truly appreciate it that you read. all the best, Deborah

  7. It’s Beautiful and Delightful! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. So elegant, lush and rich. Just beautiful!

  9. Mariana Greene says

    I have studied your posts and photos deeply for two years, at least. Maybe three. This Christmas was my first after early retirement, and I wanted to decorate the porch Lavishly. I tacked up roping of mixed greens and planned to add real sprays of rosehips and tallowberries, fresh magnolia, pinecones, dried grains and seedheads and my few, special, homegrown starbursts of dried Allium schubertii. I had a coil of dried grapevine, too, never used. But because I have seen your photos, I wanted to try your habit of wrapping grapevine around the evergreen roping. I wrestled with that stuff for an hour and finally admitted defeat. It was stronger than I am and had a mind of its own about what direction it was headed, when it would twist around the vine nicely. I wish you would share how you and your crew make the grapevine garland pliable and manageable! For next December.

    Also, my store-bought boxwood wreath was crisp after two weeks, in Texas. How long do your clients keep the pots and window boxes full of cut boughs? Don’t they dry out long before winter is over there? Thank you for your inspiring posts and photos.

    • I, too, have tried to use grapevine in the past, it certainly has a mind of its own. I found soaking it in warm water helps to make it more pliable. Good luck with it next year.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Mariana,the tenacity of grapevine means you can hang lights and other decor on it-but it is hard to work with. I takes 2 people-1 to unwrap the coil around the evergreen garland, and the other to attend to the spacing. We usually zip tip the end of the grapevine to the evergreen garland before we proceed any further. The trick is to go with direction of the grapevine. If you want your curls running in the opposite direction on the other side, flip the roll upside down before you try to unwrap it. For great big garlands, I will have 3 people on the grapevine at once-it is stiff and strong, no doubt. best, Deborah

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Mariana, I have this postscript. Our greens stay fresh longer, as the air temperature is cold. But we spray cut boxwood with an antidessicant-as it does dry out. The best product is a professional growers product called Vaporgard. I is very expensive- 100.00 per gallon. But that purchase is economical for us, as we do so much work. I do think that Wilt Pruf has a heavy duty antidessicant sold in retail sizes-you might try spraying your greens heavily with it when they are fresh. Spray them hard enough that the wiltpruf drips off.Spray the leaves front and back. This product is a natural formula made from pine resin. This waxy coating can make your fresh cut greens appear fresher, longer. best, Deborah

  10. Lisa at Greenbow says

    Happy New Year! I have enjoyed watching your Pine Cone Bonanza evolve thorough out the season.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Lisa, pine cone bonanza is a perfect description-thank you for that! Happy New Year to you too. all the best, Deborah

  11. Deb Cassady says

    Just beautiful Deborah! I was in your shop just before Christmas, it was so inspirational, can’t wait to visit in the spring. Happy New Year!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Deb, so happy you came by.This spring is our twentieth anniversary-we plan to make it our best spring ever! best, Deborah

  12. I cannot recall a finer year for the Shop decoration. This decorating is as good as it will ever get anywhere in the world, and I think all the world should come to see it.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Rob, many thanks for your letter! I was so worried it would never happen, but it finally did. all the best to you and Kate for the New Year. Deborah

  13. Samantha Taylor says

    Thank you for sharing! It’s so beautiful to look at and gives hope to gardeners living in the chilly north (Saskatchewan).
    Happy New Year!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Samantha, I cannot imagine gardening where you live, but I do think some sort of winter garden would look good. Not to mention that it is fun to do. best, Deborah

  14. You never disappoint!! The shop is magical! The deciduous tree with the pinecones is my favorite this year. I used your suggestions this year and changed the location where we hung our garland. It looks great! Thank you!

  15. Ellen Devine says

    Love the willow and pine cones around the tree. Love the way the warm lights look like fire in the cold.

  16. Jean Guest says

    The grey season in Michigan just got brighter. Your determination to ‘finish the job’ of decorating your shop for the winter season is to be admired – and will be admired by all who visit there. It’s wet and windy in Bristol UK and the skies here are grey too. I am being kept cheerful by my two flowering ‘lollipop’ trees – Viburnum Tinus ‘Eve Price’. We purchased them in the summer and I have been waiting eagerly to see them flower – they have not disappointed. Happy New Year to you and your team Deborah and thank you for providing inspiration to your many blog followers worldwide.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Many thanks for your letter, Jean. I like being dressed for the occasion. It seems especially important in the winter season. Thank you so much for reading. Happy New Year! all the best, Deborah

  17. Gerald Salerno says

    Your newsletters are always so inspirational. I have 3 maples in front of my house that have grown to large for me to mess with trying to put lights on. I love what you’ve done with the Linden and will have to try that with my trees next Christmas. Thank you for always sharing and Happy New Year.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Gerald, so good to hear from you! My crew of 25 year olds have no problem getting on the roof, but I like working with my feet on the ground. A single light garland hung in the lower branches of a big tree can be lovely. Happy New Year to you, best, Deborah

  18. Happy New Years says

    Hi Deborah,

    So beautiful as always. Your eye for design and work ethic is such an inspiration! Can you tell me if you sell the large metal lighted circles or where I can purchase one?

    Thank you

    Best wishes for 2016!

  19. Ellen Rufe says

    Dear Deborah, I look forward to each post and especially your creativity and love of gardening. Writing this from Northern California….this year for the holidays, my husband made a huge lighted chandelier from mistletoe, which invades our local aging walnut trees. Thank you so much for sharing your designs. Wishing you a very happy and green New Year!!

  20. Cara Kazanowski says

    Deborah & team, Happy 2016! I hope you all enjoy your “time off.” I look forward to your posts in the New Year.

  21. Love what you did with the curly willow branches. Oh what a treat it is to me, each time I read your blog. Thanks for all your tips and ideas once again and Happy New Year!

  22. Tom in NC. says

    Talk about a landmark. No building has ever been clothed more beautifully season after season. Once again, well done.

  23. Cathy Peterson says

    Is there floral foam at the bottom of Rob’s baskets to hold the twigs in place? How many strings of lights? That looks like something I might be able to do next year.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Cathy, there are bricks in the bottom-for ballast. Then some wood wool to cover the bricks. Then the lights-and finally the twigs. The more lights, the merrier. best, Deborah

  24. Deborah -beautiful warm and rich look for winter. Previously I tended to think of winter as a “keep clean and hope for spring” mentality, but now inspired for appreciation of winter gardening after reading your blog for a couple years now…but how do you attach the garland to brick? So sorry if you’ve already answered that question a million times…….

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Mary, we put masonry screws in the mortar between the bricks, and attach the garland to the screws with concrete wire. all the best, Deborah

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