rob2Anyone who has come to Detroit Garden Works the past 15 years has probably dealt with Rob.  He manages, buys, designs, arranges, and generally oversees the store. He does display, he pulls weeds, and waters. He arranges purchases from nurseries in Ohio, Tennessee, and Long Island, and every place in between.  He buys for DGW all over the country, and in Europe.  In recent years, he has made a concerted effort to shop our country.  We two agree that every city, every region in our country, has people making beautiful work. We just need to find them.  His latest purchase, custom made plant towers in a weather resistant acid washed finish that looks like lead. Many of them are his design, and they are being manufactured by a local ironworker.

He has amassed many friends in Europe over the past 15 years. His years of 30 day trips to Europe would be preceded by an enormous list of interesting places to visit, meetings with dealers and artists with whom he had become friends, and not one hotel accommodation. There would be a rental car waiting in Paris, that’s all.  He ate in little restaurants not listed in any travel book, and found lodging in any number of small towns, in any number of countries, at the close of the day.  Picture this-no itinerary, just a will to travel, look and buy.   Potteries in Italy, Sotheby’s auctions in England and the Netherlands, garden antiques dealers in Belgium, the markets in Paris, the pottery of an expatriate Englishwoman in central France-the list is quite long.  He a person on a mission entirely of his own design.

What he brings home from these trips is a remarkably cohesive collection. He then is very good at putting people together with some part of that collection.

He is self-effacing to a fault; I did however have to spring for a Mac, before he would express any interest in computers. This was well worth it.  Today he helps clients locally, and nationwide, choose all manner of furnishings for their gardens. His ability to help people has also been greatly helped by a digital camera.  His newest tool, the  iphone.  Pictures, and more pictures.

A graduate of Michigan State in landscape architecture, his big love for anything and everything related to gardens benefits all our retail clients. No matter how shy he is, his wry sense of humor is engaging.  A client told me today that he made the remark that Michigan makes 5 tries at spring before it delivers-and at the moment, we are only at 2 tries. Very funny, Rob.

Leave a Comment