Northwest Flower And Garden Show

 I had a call last week from Bruce Bailey, the owner of Heavy Petal Nursery in Washington.  He is one of a group of featured speakers at the seminars which will be offered at this year’s Northwest Flower and Garden Show.  This is a very well respected and well attended event.  Their seminars will be given by a group of people greatly esteemed in the field of horticulture.  The exhibits, and market sound great-I wish I were close enough to go and participate in all of it.  He called to ask if he might use some pictures of my container plantings in his presentation.  I told him that I was inordinately pleased that he would ask and of course it is ok.  Many thanks for your interest, Bruce.       

Bruce Bailey – Owner, Heavy Petal Nursery, Moses Lake, WA
Bruce Bailey is the owner of Heavy Petal Nursery, in Moses Lake, Washington, “Where plants rock.” He is a passionate horticulturist with a background in art history and design, and an accomplished interior designer. Heavy Petal Nursery provides an unconventional selection of gardening products for a unique shopping experience, with new varieties and surprising introductions of garden worthy plants, as well as old fashioned and unjustly forgotten favorites. They specialize in bringing hardy plants to Eastern Washington, expanding the plant palette for inter-mountain and high desert gardeners. The nursery offers a wide variety of inspiring plants hardy in the USDA zone 5a, as well as pushing zones up to USDA zone 7a.

A Container Named Desire
Making a Personal Statement with Bold Containers
Wed, Feb 8 at 5:45 pm / Hood Room

 Of course I am curious about what pictures he will choose.  In the close to 3 years of writing this blog, I have published lots of pictures.  For sure I know that what appeals to one will leave the next person cold.  This is the best part of planting the pots.  Every gardener has a distinctively individual idea about what constitutes beautiful. 

 This is why I plant the annual gardens in the front of the shop different every year.  This is why I planted every one of the 33 pots for the city of Birmingham differently.  Everyone has their own individual idea about what strikes a chord with them.  Diversity-I like this. 

 The containers in a garden can be planted differently every year.  I like that I can explore a certain interest or point of view over the course of a season, jump ship, and change directions the next.    

The possible combinations for container plantings are infinite.  Once I commit to a design, I make very sure the maintenance of that container is consistent.  I want the opportunity to see a container all grown out. 

I am fortunate to have clients that look after their containers diligently.  I know what it is to be too tired to water, but water I do anyway.  Water, they do.  That which is a garden chore is just as much a joy.  A beautiful container planting pleases to the bone.   

I can plant raucous-I can plant cool and collected.  Every style of planting I am asked to do has common ground.  The color relationships, the mature shape, the textures and mass apply to every container design.  

A green scheme for containers is a favorite of mine.  An old client and I share this.  Sourcing unusual and specimen green plant material for her all green pots is one of my most favorite moments of the spring season. 

Chocolate leaves interest me.  This canna, the chocolate Mint coleus, and the brown sweet potato vine makes for a brown medley-sweet. 

 One year I planted an old agave in the pot in my rose garden.  It was undeniably beautiful.  It was Buck’s most favorite container planting ever.  That said, I knew it was too visually rigorous for me.  I do love flowers.  The past 2 years, this pot has been home to a collection of summer flowering plants.  This is not to say I might revisit an entirely architectural planting in this pot some day.  Who klnows what will strike my fancy in the May to come.  As for what speaks to Bruce about my work-I have no idea.  He promised he would let me know. 

Should you be interested:



  1. Hands down, your container plantings are THE best.
    Not even close.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Ann, you are too kind. I can’t wait to get back to doing them…that will take another 2 months at least. Deborah

  2. Deborah,
    Your blog and your pictures are simply gorgeous, no wonder Bruce wanted to feature your pics! I hope that I get to meet you someday. 🙂

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Christina, thanks for your letter. I wish I could hear his talk. Maybe we will meet some day-that would be fun. Deborah

  3. Deborah,

    Truly honored and thank you. I could stumble upon words, but sometimes moderation is best.

    I received my google notification of your post this morning, but it is Christina Salwitz pointing out to me late last night that left me virtually dumbfounded. Christina is also know for her containers here in the Pacific Northwest, and for being modest about her own talents.

    Thank you again,

    Bruce Bailey

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Bruce, I was thrilled that you thought enough of my work to show pictures of it. The pleasure is all mine! Everyone speaking at the show is an accomplished and interesting advocate for great plants and design. This blog is helping me to make contact with people who love gardening as much as I do-this is the best part. I do hope to cross paths with both you and Christina someday. Thanks again, Deborah

  4. Wow! Love the container plantings here. My doorstep will never be the same again! Thanks for the great advice!

  5. Anna Mae Miller says

    Denise keeps me up on your visits to each other. Do you still do the Grand Hotel? anna mae miller, lover of most irises, especially Siberians and Japanese and your picts of the Ensata gardens were wonderful.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Anna Mae, I have not done the Grand Hotel since 1996. Of course I remember shopping at your place for irises with Denise-its great to hear from you. I have a very small city yard-much different than those 5 acres I had. But I like what I have just fine-and still enjoy gardening better than anything else. Deborah

  6. These container plantings are stunning! I’ve been a fan of your work for years – ever since the company I work for ordered some of your containers (Detroit Garden Works) for one of our developments. You have a wonderful eye for combinations!

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