Start To Finish

the-winter-landscape-18I have posted several times about a landscape project that was designed in 2015, and finally finished earlier this year. It was one of those rare moments when establishing a rapport with a committed client is instantaneous, and has staying power. The opportunity to work with them came courtesy of the Art-Harrison Design Studio. Arturo and Barry introduced me to their clients. That introduction eventually turned into a mission to renovate the landscape for this 1920’s era home in Detroit. The landscape was finished this past July. Our work this past week revolved around arrangements in their pots for the holiday and winter, and lighting. This large lighted wreath destined for a second story window was a little spare-we added some garland, picks and pods.

the-winter-landscape-9Installed in front of a second story window, the proportion is good, and the pale cones and pods read well from the ground.

the-winter-landscape-10The winter arrangements for the front door pots were installed this morning.  All of the construction work of this was done in our garage over the past few days. I like keeping that mess at home. In the centerpieces – red bud pussy willow, alder branches, taupe eucalyptus, sinamay, and LED lighting.


At the end of the day today, on his way home, David added some white berry picks to the pots. I thought the pots needed it. Do we revise after an installation?  All the time. I knew the lights would be warm-thus the gold mesh sinamay wrapped around the twigs. That sparkly nod to the holidays can be removed after New Year’s.

the-winter-landscape-12At 4pm the front door looks inviting. The lighting in the winter pots augments the  coach lights on either side of the door, and the landscape lighting

img_8939By 5:30 pm, it is nearly dark. Not so, this front door. It is a well lit space that welcomes guests.


Lighted winter arrangements light the way. They turn back the long dark months that are sure to come. Any project I take on this time of year has some form of lighting. Will this client run the lights all winter?  I hope so.  The advent of highly energy efficient LED lighting makes the decision to keep the lights on easy.This large pot in the side yard features a number of sumac branches.  The size, scale and color of them is good with the pot. Though the lighting is not so apparent in the afternoon, at dusk the light at the bottom of the eucalyptus will softly illuminate the centerpiece.

spiked light ring from Detroit Garden WorksThis spiked light ring is an alternate method of lighting a winter pot. I cannot explain why these light rings are so visually satisfying and beautiful, but they are.

the-winter-landscape-11It took the better part of the morning to install the winter arrangements in all of their pots, and hook up the lighting. Marzela is putting the finishing touches on this pot after the lighted steel hoop was set in the center. The light ring has an anchoring mechanism featuring 4 long steel legs that can be pushed through the foam form, and into the soil below it. Owen and LaBelle lighted the dome of the pergola and hung the lighted sphere a few days ago. More pictures to follow.

the-winter-landscape-2set for the holiday

the-winter-landscape-8decorated and lighted steel sphere

the-winter-landscape-7lighted wreath

the-winter-landscape-4winter pots

the-winter-landscape-5box dressed for winter with tiger branches, pods, cones, and mixed cut evergreens

the-winter-landscape-1another view

img_2984the rear terrace


tiger branches and white eucalyptus

light ring


img_8935celebrating the circle, and the season.










  1. Ilene Wolff says

    The lights in the last image are lovely!

  2. Magnificent!!

    Where does one purchase these lighting circles?
    Do the LED string lights get plugged in somewhere? I don’t see any cords anywhere in these shots.

  3. Kathy Parsons says

    Love the arrangements! Especially the circles in the area by the pergola.
    Just curious though….what is the low grassy looking element in the pots that have the steel rings?

  4. Miss Deborah Silver, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I think you are an absolute freakin genius!! I cannot drink in your photos fast enough, they are sooo over the top gorgeous and inspiring, even ones that are just of pots or tools!
    I just want to ask if you could put a feature that allows one to see the “previous post” as sometimes I want to see a picture again and I cannot find it, only the current post… there a way you can do that? I’d love to just spend time perusing them. Have the best Holiday ever.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Serena, there are 2 ways to see previous posts.If you scroll all the way to the bottom, it will say “next page”. That will give you the post previous to those that are on the first page. Or, in the right hand column, click on any month of any year you like. All of the posts from that month will come up. Thank you for your kind letter! best, Deborah

      • I have scanned, studied and stared at the pages (many times) and on my pc there is no “next page” anywhere. At bottom there is only a ”return to top of page”, copyright, company name and your name…..however I do see the archives for each month and that would work lolol, thank you kindly!

  5. Cathy Peterson says

    Winter elegance. . .love it!

  6. Beautiful home — fabulous decorations.
    And lucky clients.
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Lisa at Greenbow says

    Those circle lights remind me of the circles of fire that the entertainers jump through. Very exciting.

  8. Michaele Anderson says

    If people have had the good fortune of hard work/life circumstances that has brought expendable income into their lives, stunning creations like yours are certainly the kind of thing that they should treat themselves to. Paying for the services of a gifted professional in any area is money well spent and the finished product often benefits more than just the buyer. Anyone who sees these gorgeous containers will feel their heart expanded by beauty.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Michaele, you are right. Everyone is different in how they choose to use their expendable income. I do know gardeners that cut materials from their own yard, and put things together themselves-to beautiful effect. We have all kinds of clients for whom we do work. The only thing that is the same about them is their interest in the garden. People who shop with us keep all of us working-for that I am appreciative. all the best, Deborah

  9. Pippa Honess says

    I love your arrangements, I’ve never seen anything like them in the UK. One question though – what are the “picks”?

  10. David Martin says

    As always a beautiful arrangement tastefully executed. The shop looks amazing as well.

    All the best to you and your this Holiday season.

  11. Winter elegance!
    It’s addicting whenever blog pops up in my email.

  12. Cheryl Foley says

    Your emails are my new additction. There hasn’t been one that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed (loved) and I have kept them for future reference. Unfortunately, we live in southern Wisconsin so I can’t just hop in the car for a visit. That being said, I might make part of a road trip or hop on a plane. Detroit Garden Works is too good to resist! Thanks for always satisfying my gardening dreams.

  13. Hi Deborah, what size are the lighted spheres you used in the pots above?

  14. Ms. Deborah Silver, I cannot get your work out of my head, and my poor gardeners heart who craves beauty at all times has tried to figure out how to get a little bit of your inspiration into my own space. Today I planted two planters but they are such a poor lame imitation of a container you might do. However I totally cheated lolol….and used a boxwood wreath at the base of the planter then planted a plant. I added white branches but it did not look good at all so I removed them and kept only the plant and wreath. I smile every time I see them cause they are totally a poor imitation of yours. You can see it on my blog, I wrote about you and posted a picture of my humble planters. *shaking my head in shame* but I wanted you to know my heart is expanded at seeing what you do.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Serena, never ever shake your head in shame. I would quit writing if I believed what I wrote shamed other gardeners. I only hope to express and explain my thought process. I additionally take great pains to express how I work, and my construction process. The materials may come from my shop, or from the field-each resource is great. How I work is not necessarily the best way to work. I have an idea. Paste that idea up against your idea, and garden on. I would want a beautiful outcome for every gardener. What comes to you from this journal are some ideas that you can adapt to your situation. Or not. Practice never makes perfect. It makes better. Thank you for writing. best regards, Deborah

      • Thank you for your kind response. Maybe “shame” was the wrong word, should be ridiculous? Well it just feels silly trying to imitate such stately containers with what I have. I do smile though, so its not bad.
        I will garden on, and keep in mind what I desire, and work with what I have and with what does well. Eventually between Nature and all of that, something will impress me as your work does! Have the best Holiday ever!

  15. Sharon Pogliano says

    Wow and wonderful wintry inspirations!

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