The 2013 Garden Cruise

June 24 2013 (32)I am a member of the board of the Greening of Detroit.  Michael Willoughby, an architect of note in my area, persuaded me to join their board 6 years ago.  I am 100% behind the work they do.  This organization, some 23 years old, plants trees, sponsors urban farms, and teaches both young and old about how to grow food, and how to treasure the environment.  They work in favor of the city of Detroit.  This one sentence encompasses a world of good, and an extraordinary amount of effort. Not having the time to attend meetings, I wanted to make my membership on the board somehow beneficial to them.

perennial garden.jpg6 years ago I organized a garden tour-the entire proceeds of which would benefit the programs of the Greening of Detroit.   Much of what they do is funded by private donations, or grants.  But their program to hire young people to look after and water trees and community gardens-this is an expense not covered by any grant.

container-planting.jpgI have heard stories about these young people.  And their experience having a job, and having a garden to protect and nurture.  The instinct to nurture is not so far below the surface in any person.  The money we raise helps to try to convert a flicker, or an instinct into a life choice. In the past 5 years, we have raised over 60,000.00 for the employment program for the Greening.  100% of the cost of the tickets to attend the tour goes to their fund.  We donate all of the rest that it takes to put on a tour, and maintain the tour website.

landscape.jpgThis year’s tour features 7 gardens-each of them are striking and well worth a visit.  Beautiful landscapes on both large and small properties. Extraordinary gardens-both big and small.  Two of these gardens I had no hand in whatsoever.  They were designed, planted and tended by two very talented and creative gardeners.  I am pleased that the people who take this tour will have a chance to see them, they are that good.

boxwood-in-pots.jpgThis is all by way of saying that the tour is well worth the price of a ticket to anyone who has a keen interest in gardening. This year’s tour is Sunday, July 21st.  A tour ticket is 35.00.  The tour begins at 9am, and ends at 4:30.  A ticket has the addresses of all of the gardens, and a suggested route. For those who are interested, an additional 15.00 includes our cocktail/light dinner reception at Detroit Garden Works.  This reception starts at 4:30, and goes on as long as we have guests.

belgian-fence.jpgOver 400 people took the tour last year-I am very pleased about that. As everyone is free to visit the gardens in whatever order they like, and at their own pace, the gardens are never too crowded to enjoy.  All of the gardens are attended by volunteers of the Greening of Detroit, in the event you have any questions about their organization.  Many gardeners whose gardens are on tour are there and available to answer questions.

rose-of-sharon-espalier.jpgI always put my garden on tour, and spend the day there.  I like having the chance to talk to, and thank everyone who has taken the time to attend.  Interested in more information?  Tickets are available now at Detroit Garden Works. All of these pictures were taken yesterday-in one of the gardens that will be on tour.  Hope to see you on the 21st.



  1. This sounds like a great organization to support, and if I were in Detroit, I’d most certainly buy a ticket and go on the tour.

    I also have a question… This weekend I read through a number of your beautiful posts. As in one of the photos in this post, I noticed super healthy looking arborvitae. How do you keep them so healthy in such a cold area? Here in SW Missouri, ours split constantly from the weight of ice/snow. Also, they are often killed by spider mites. I have five that I was just considering replacing. I’d love to know your growing secret.


  2. I found it absolutely fascinating to read this. It is definitely an inspiration to establish a similar organization in Flint, a city that has issues quite similar to Detroit’s, yet with ample vacant lots that could be developed into parks and gardens that would make the city greener. I will call your store tomorrow to buy a ticket. Congratulations with this initiative!

  3. This particular entry — for its beauty and inspiration and wonderful images — brought me to tears. I’ve never said that about a blog before!
    I love that there is a program to train and motivate future gardeners for Detroit and its environs.
    I wish we had a Deborah Silver in my part of the desert southwest. And perhaps we do, but your writings give a voice to the aspirations and desires of people who want to make their environs more beautiful and livable in a truly unique way.
    Keep up the great work – and good luck to those young people. Wish I could be there for the tour!!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Terry, thanks for your letter. We appreciate the work that the Greening has done, and do what we can to help them. Deborah

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