On The Water Today

On the water today is a 40 foot container’s worth of goods for the garden that Rob bought in France last September. Some of what he bought is either antique or vintage. Other things are new. He buys what he treasures and can’t bring himself to leave behind. I like that about him. Our shipping agent in Paris collects what he buys wherever he shops in France. Some orders for new goods, no matter where they are sourced, are manufactured to order only. Thus he times his overseas shopping in the summer and early fall so we can take delivery prior to the spring season opening March 1. Once all of his purchases are packed and collected, arrangements are made to fill a container and send it on its way. It is incredible really, how much planning and traveling he does every year in support of amassing a beautiful and curated collection of objects.

Rob turns over all of his invoices and buy sheets to our internet sales and service manager, Heather D, once he returns to the states. Just one of her many responsibilities involves coordinating pickups, packing and shipping of goods that come to the shop from abroad and in the US. Doing business internationally is a complicated job. Rob places orders and buys overseas, but payment for goods whether old or new is arranged by wire transfer of funds to our shipping agent. Our agent pays for what Rob has purchased when they pick up. Heather takes the hand off from Rob, and coordinates the shipping as quickly and gracefully as possible. I greatly admire that she coordinates with him in such a way that our overseas buying results in moving many items from various places in a European country to our doorstep in an efficient and timely way.

The shipping from a big group of vendors/suppliers in Europe to our shop takes time. There are always problems, and negotiations. Heather handles this with aplomb. I am confident in saying that all of us representing Detroit Garden Works go to great lengths to bring beautiful garden ornament to our clients. Each person plays their part. Heather gets everything to us, best way. Rob sets the prices, and all of the sales staff pitch in to tag everything. Jenny photographs all of our new things for the Detroit Garden Works website. Dave, our business manager, handles the finances.

There are other jobs that need to be done. In preparation for our spring 2018 season opening, my entire landscape crew has been busy cleaning and repainting all of the shelving and trim with fresh color via several coats of paint. A new 8′ by 8′ skylight just inside our front door will be installed early next week. Our go to painter for difficult jobs has been engaged to repaint the ceilings in our front two showrooms-for the first time in 22 years. In preparation for his week’s long work, everything in those rooms had to be moved out, so a scaffolding on wheels can access every square inch of our 14 foot high ceilings. We are ready for him, ahead of his February 1st start date. We will be on hand to help him mask off the walls and the track lighting. As shipments and containers come in, the landscape company
will take on the unpacking  and placement of most every substantial and heavy item.

Only Heather would say that importing goods from the European continent to the US is easy. It is in fact a complicated affair, dealing with multiple vendors, import rules and regulations and shipping. She is incredibly focused and for good measure and balance, incredibly patient. She communicates via telephone and the internet in such a friendly and productive way. All of my group and all of our vendors truly appreciate her candor, good humor, and problem solving skills. She has spent a good deal of time researching and engaging companies that can deliver our goods intact, and in a timely way.

Heather also manages all of our internet inquiries, sales, and shipping arrangements for both Detroit Garden Works, and Branch  We do business nation wide, with individual clients, and design firms. She is client services oriented, and she is not afraid to take on a project that is difficult or complicated. She has made it her business to become familiar with everything we offer for sale, so she can speak knowledgeably about them, and answer questions.

Why all this talk about Heather? I regret to report that Heather D, our internet sales manager, has accepted a request from her brother to return to the family business. Even though she will be sorely missed, I wish her well. She has graciously agreed to stay long enough train a new person for her position. I am very glad that our new internet sales manager to be will have the benefit of all of the systems she has put into place the past three years.

If you or someone you know is interested in a fast paced and variable sales and client services position that evolves day to day, supported by a great and closely knit group of people with a big passion for the garden, let me know by email at dsilver@detroitgardenworks.com  I can email you the job description and responsibilities, so you can take a closer look at what would be involved. I am open to professional people from other fields, but a sense and interest in design is key.

I am looking forward to the season to come. We have three containers set to arrive in the next month. It is hard to believe that February in the garden industry could be chaotic, but in our case, it is.  We have to be ready for company March 1. The chaos is somewhat mitigated by the fun of seeing what is in all of those packages. It’s a birthday party for Detroit Garden Works.

I have had this photograph of a pair of French pots for months, but it is nothing what it will be to see them in person. I am very keen about these. A very traditional French pot shape has a decidedly contemporary look created by the glaze. Are these new or old? I have no idea, yet.

Rob is a fan of dolly tubs, and I understand why.  They are happy in a contemporary or traditional setting. The planting space is generous. They are lightweight and weatherproof.

This is a closeup of a new glaze from a French pottery. I can’t wait to see these in person too. These pots will be every bit as welcome in a variety of settings as a dolly tub, but they are heavy, and will need to come in for the winter in a northern garden. There will be someone who is not in the least bit daunted by this. For a while, I will be able to look at it, any time I choose. As for Heather, she gave a lot for the while she was with us. As much as I am reluctant to let go, there will be a new person who brings their own style and sensibility to the mix. I look forward to meeting them.






  1. Cheryl Foley says

    Absolutely fabulous! I live across the lake in Racine, Wisconsin, just south of Milwaukee.Making a trip to DGW has always been on my list of to-do’s and this summer the trip will come to fruition. Summer can’t come soon enough!

    • Rand Schmidt says

      Cheryl, You are in for a real treat. We live in MIlwaukee and took a trip to the Detroit area two years ago just so we could visit DGW. We were not disappointed! Sunni showed us around and we also got to meet Rob, Deborah and Milo. We hope to make a return trip to Detroit to explore other neighborhoods and to visit DGW again.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Ha! Come on over Cheryl! Spring is not so far away, I am happy to say. See you soon. all the best, Deborah

  2. I live in Missouri and had the pleasure of working with Heather regarding shipping three very large items I purchased at DGW. She was so helpful and delightful to work with. She’ll be hard to replace!! Good luck to Heather; I know her brother must be elated!!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Laura, I am happy to hear your experience with Heather was a good one. Most clients say that. I am sure she will be happy to read this. It was a tough decision for her. best regards, Deborah

  3. Sad to hear that Heather is leaving DGW. This madcap Brit living in Memphis will sorely miss her. She has worked so hard over the years to accommodate my requests, working tirelessly to find ways to ship things down here in a cost effective way, and even listening to the crazy dream I had last summer about diverting the yacht (with everyone on board) from the Greek Islands to stop at DGW on the way home to landlocked Memphis! (I am certain my thought was that we could really load up on goodies and forgo the shipping costs!) Her replacement will need special training, that is for sure! Her brother is lucky to have her return to the family business and I, for one, wish her all the very best as she embarks on the next leg of her journey.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Liz, I feel certain that our new person will be able to help out a mad cap Brit in whatever form she requires. As for Heather-she has been terrific. I wish her well, and I look forward to a new team member who will bring their own special sauce to the mix. best regards, Deborah

  4. Good luck Heather. You are always a pleasure to speak with. Good luck Deborah too. Brutally hard group of skills to replace.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Jim, I do believe there are lots of people out there with great skills. Sometimes they don’t know how good they are! We are on the search. There is a great life ahead for the both of us. I cannot wait to meet our new person-it will be a pleasure. best regards, Deborah

  5. GORGEOUS…I adore the dolly tubs ~ so nice and fabulous Rob loves all this shopping,
    ooh la la….Detroit Garden Works is the top of the heap hands down !

    • Deborah Silver says

      Thank you Suzanna for voting us to the top of the heap! Yes, the dolly tubs are terrific. all the best, Deborah

  6. Debbie McGarra says

    Love the tall green vases! Where can they be purchased?

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Debbie, the vases are part of a container Detroit Garden Works has coming for spring. We should have them available for sale by March 1. best, Deborah


    Boy – I wish I lived in Detroit (I’m from Canada, and speak french!) – This sounds like just the job for me… 🙁
    I love reading your blogs, as I live vicariously through you in garden design with plenty of beautiful textures and shapes that enhance the outdoor experience.

    I have not left a comment before, but thought I should tell you how much I enjoy reading your posts, anyway.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Natalie, so sorry you are so far away! But someone will step forward and take on this job with us. We are looking. Thank you so much for reading. best regards, Deborah

  8. Hi Deborah, I love the garden pieces you’ve shown us. Your store will definitely be a stopping point when I eventually travel up your way! Best of luck in finding a replacement for your Heather; sounds like big shoes to fill. ~Miranda

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Miranda, yes indeed, she has big shoes, but our new person will have shoes all their own, and will handle the job in their own way. I am looking forward to meeting them. And I am looking forward to meeting you, should you come our way. best regards, Deborah


    Loved the cover and spread about about all of your good works. I’ve followed you for a long time and love your blog. Great Milo got on the cover too!! I’m hoping to get to your shop….someday soon! I give you 5 STARS!! What beautiful creators you all are!!

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