Recent Work


fall-container-planting.jpgFall is an incredibly beautiful season in Michigan. The sun low in the sky, and the morning fog makes every color intensely saturated.  The leaves changing electrifies a fall palette of color in the landscape in a way that no flower could hope to achieve. The sugar maples are brilliantly fiery; the hydrangeas are a muted shade of brown and pink.   No season celebrates color like the fall. We are in the early stages of that transition from summer to fall.  This is a season that I follow closely, as I do not wish to miss one moment of it. The materials available for fall are spectacular in color.  The ornamental cabbages and kales intensify in color as the temperature drops. The pumpkins and gourds are impossible to resist. Everything about them speaks to the harvest, and to fall color.

coral-bells.jpgThese pots are planted all around at the bottom with heuchera.  I am not so much a fan of dark leaved coral bells in the summer garden.  They are shockingly gloomy to me in the heat of August.   In the fall, they shine in containers. These dark colors are so beautiful on a rainy fall day. I see many more growers offering large heuchera plants for sale in the fall.  There are so many foliage plants with great color available.  No doubt I associate and welcome certain colors with certain seasons.  This is a luxury enjoyed by a gardener in a four season zone.

DSC_5372The window boxes in the front of the shop are showing signs of fall color.  I so appreciate those years when the fall comes slowly, and the killing frost is late.  The brown potato vine and the coleus are singed with cold.  The color in these boxes is changing with the season.  It is easy to replace certain very cold susceptible elements in a summer container with more cold tolerant plants.  But letting the fall season work its magic on a a summer planting can be quite beautiful.

week of Sept 29 (7)
These urns sitting at the front door empty would be just lovely.  But planted for fall, they have a warm and welcoming appeal .  week of Sept 29 (14)Red Bor kale is one of the most versatile of all fall container plants.  They are tall enough to make a vertical statement.  The crinkled dark purple leaves darken more as the temperatures get cooler. They are less rigid in shape than the other cabbages and kales, making it easy to fill in the gaps between the other plants.

DSC_5408Not every fall arrangement needs to be standard issue orange and yellow.  There is an astonishing number of white and green pumpkins and gourds to be had.  Every grower has something a little different.  Every fall I see gourd shapes and color combinations I have not seen before.  An arrangement of pumpkins and gourds in a window box is as lovely a celebration of the fall as a boxful of foliage and flowers.

DSC_5364pots at the shop

JR fall 2014  5fall pots with dry hydrangeas

White kale and dry banana stems


fall container with broom corn, plum eucalyptus, orange floral picks, red bor kale and red chidori kale.

JR fall 2014red cabbage, cirrus dusty miller, gray eucalyptus and white banana stems

Red bor kale, pink cabbage and succulents

coleus-in-the-fall.jpgHow I am enjoying this beautiful moment.


  1. lyrical and so beautiful–lovely to see art in these instead of the usual birch branches and dusty eucalyptus with some cedar whacked in!

  2. I love all your pots, particularly the ones in the 4th photo!

  3. Dear Deborah,
    As always, beautiful and inspiring. In the photo with the heuchera, what are the taller pieces standing in the back of the pots looking like upside-down saucers with a hole in the middle. (Brownish-rust color. I see 4 of them. Thanks, -g

    • Deborah Silver says

      Greg, Those are English staddle stones from the late 19th century-circa the industrial revolution. best, Deborah

  4. Deborah, could you make some suggestions for full shade fall container plantings? Thank you for all your inspiring posts.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Barbara, I don’t worry so much about the sun and shade in the fall. The fall plants will hold their own in just about any conditions. This only applies to my area and my experience. Deborah

  5. Well, big ” DUH” on me…why haven’t I ever thought to use cut hydrangea blooms for added ornamentation in outside container compositions. Thanks, as always, for all your great ideas.

  6. Your pots are absolutely stunning. I live in Northern California and I don’t usually change out my pots because I can keep things in year round if grown near the house. I love the idea of the kale and \dried hydrangeas. I look forward to your posts Deborah, thank you..

    Diane Ciardello

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Diane, every gardener has a different situation. I could not imagine growing pots year round. But I do treasure the opportunities that a change of the season presents. Thanks for writing, Deborah

  7. Your work is STUNNING! JUST STUNNING!

  8. just love these tours, thank you!

  9. Hi Deborah,
    How much cold can the heuchera and dusty miller take? Will they hold up to mid- to high 20s like kale/cabbage can?

  10. Hi Deb-
    Love the look of the kale and cabbage in the pots. Thinking about planted some nextg year in my cut gardne specifically for fall repotting. Thinking that to get specimens this large for September/October potting I would need to seed in the spring and dust regularly to keep the bugs off the lovely leaves.

    • Nella,
      I’m no expert on cabbages & kale (will defer to Deborah for the ‘final word’!), but I’ve not had good luck growing ornamental cabbage/kale on my own. Like you, I aspired a few years ago to grow a bunch from seed — thinking I could plant a much larger quantity and could save money. Even planting them late spring/early summer and caring for them well, they turned out to be nothing like what is available in the local garden centers (Lowe’s, Home Depot, local greenhouses) for purchase in the fall. I live in NE Indiana, and I found a wonderful local greenhouse that grows about 10 different kinds of fall cabbage/kale. They’re huge (exactly like what Deborah uses), and they retail for $7 each. For me, it’s not worth the bother of trying to grow myself. I leave the growing to the professionals, and I focus my attention on the other details/materials in my fall pots.


  11. I got here via Arlee Barr, and I am glad I did. Your pots are gorgeous.

    But I noticed on the way through you referred to “plum eucalyptus”. Can you tell me what this is please? I am Australian, where eucalyptus is indigenous but I have never heard of or seen plum eucalyptus.

    Our climate isn’t as viciously cold as yours so many of your plants will stand up to our winters and I like the look of your heucheras, so out to the nursery tomorrow to get some (if I can find them in this little town our ours).

    Please let me know about the plum eucs and thanks for a great blog.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Chris, our eucalyptus is preserved and dyed. That’s where the color comes from. We buy it dyed lots of different colors. Best, Deborah

  12. Absolutely stunning ides to me! I love your containers and they give me such great options to choose and create my own. Thank you for sharing Deborah!

  13. Heather Burkhardt says

    I really love your white and green gourd windowbox. Very classy pallette with plenty of autumnal charm. I will be keeping my eye out for some this week. Thanks again.

  14. Hi Deborah,

    Your work is absolutely beautiful and very inspiring. What do you use to “tower” up your flowers in the urns?

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