The 2015 Holiday/Winter Preview Party

holiday open houseI have long been of the mind that the gardening season can thrive during the late fall and can not only endure, but robustly represent a gardener’s point of view throughout the winter months. The stakes are high.  The winters in my zone can be fierce. The skies are an unvarying shade of gray for months on end. We pile on the winter gear, and slog through the snow to work. Our winters are cold and dark. Winter gardening asks for a different idea, different tools, and an active imagination.  I may light a dormant shade garden with twinkle lights strewn on the ground, given that the chartreuse hostas have gone dormant.  The mixed fir evergreen garland wired up with pine cones and other natural materials that will go over my front door for the holiday season will please the gardener in me.  I most assuredly will stuff my containers with cut greens, fresh cut twigs, and anything else I might fancy, with the idea that they will recall the warmth and comfort of the garden over the winter.

holiday preview (18)Gardeners are working people.  Once the last of the spring flowering bulbs are planted, those hands are hard to keep still. I am not ready to cozy up to a stack of books. It was many years ago that Rob and I decided to make something more of the coming of the cold than resignation. We transform the shop into a destination for materials to enrich the holiday and winter season.  Most of the shopping was done this past January.  When our purchases begin to arrive in July, it is easy to spot why we liked them.  Invariably, there is a reference to nature and natural materials.

holiday preview (12)There are lots of bird ornaments. They may be feathered or felted, but no matter the material, they appeal to gardeners.

holiday preview (17)Every year we feature one sort of holiday tree or another.  This year, Rob has sourced tall and thin trees in a variety of species that share a certain look in common.  These trees have been deliberately pruned and grown to produce an old fashioned shape.  These sparse, short needled trees are grown Victorian style, meaning those big open spaces are friendly to hanging ornaments, birds on clips, and garland.

holiday preview (20)We will have plants. We have a great selection of amaryllis, available as bulbs, potted up, or growing in water in glass cylinders. There will be pots of berried wintergreen, and white variegated club moss.  And of course, some hellebores. But the majority of what we have available are garden ornaments that evoke the materials and spirit of the garden.

holiday preview (5)The grapevine deer sculptures are life size, and beautifully made. The frames are steel. The vines will last for many years, given a yearly application of sealer. These are the kind of deer one could welcome to a garden-especially a winter garden.

holiday preview (10)We will open our winter/ holiday season tonight from 5 to 9.  This party is in large part a thank you to the community of gardeners that frequent our doors. We always have new people, for whom this night is an introduction to our place. We will have something good to eat and drink, live music, and lively conversation. We invite everyone to preview our winter collection.

holiday preview (1)Dutch jingle bells in varying shades of blue and gray

holiday preview (11)reproductions of vintage holiday figures

holiday preview (2)fresh cut twigs are a winter staple for containers.  Also slated to arrive today, a truckload of cut greens from a wide range of evergreen species.

holiday preview (13)felted animal ornaments

holiday preview (4)weatherproof contemporary stars

holiday preview (8)wood deer with burlap coats

holiday preview (3)And finally, Rob’s lighting collection. We have some very exciting new options available this year. For those of you who are too far away to attend, I will post pictures of how the shop looks at night. Great lighting can transform a winter landscape.  You’ll see.



  1. Lisa Franey says

    Dear Deborah, I love looking at your blog! I live in New Jersey so I can’t visit your store but thanks for posting pictures.

  2. Dear Deborah, sorry I cannot be there. Some year though. Thanks for the pictures. Best, -g

  3. Sadly too far away to visit your beautiful shop but I can’t wait to see the photos – I’m sure they’ll be gorgeous as always.

  4. I want everything! Wish I lived closer, I’d be there for your party open house.
    I enjoy your blog so much, and always look forward to it! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Paula Venti says

    Deborah..I too am too far away to visit your beautiful shop however I enjoy each and very blog entry. I cannot wait to see your containers for the holiday.They are always so inspiring. The lighting is FABULOUS in them !!

  6. Deborah… your creativity with ‘everything nature’ is like having a living textbook filled with useful information and inspiring ideas. Lucky gardeners in Detroit! Your enjoyment of what you do is truly infectious, thank you!

  7. Elisabeth Eggleston says

    I live too far from Detroit to see your Christmas decorations, the gardens you design, and your shop. Would you considered offering 2-3 day long tours (maybe 2-3x yearly) so that those of us who can only visit via “Dirt Simple’s 2D views could come to Detroit to see the 3D effects? A tour organization such as the non-profit Road Scholar could arrange for the tours (housing, bus and driver, meals, and a leader. This would relieve you and Rob of all the time consuming arrangements and you might only need to appear for a half day tour and possibly one talk, And I imagine your garden shop would experience a tremendous sales day.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Elizabeth, I appreciate your interest and enthusiasm, but every season is jam packed with work. Maybe when I retire! Thanks, Deborah

  8. Ditto. A wonderful, beautifully curated collection. All the best tonite.

  9. Fran Armstrong says

    I so enjoy your blog! I live in Colorado but would love to come & visit your city but most importantly your shop. Oh what fun that would be & to purchase beautiful pots.

  10. Oh how I wish I were close enough to attend tonight, sounds wonderful! Have fun!

  11. Virginia Skold says

    Would like to translate these beautiful ideas to Lincoln, Ne.

  12. Dear Deborah, Fabulous as usual! Hope to see it in person someday! Thanks for sharing online so we can all enjoy. Cheers!

  13. Love all the birds! And mice!
    Look forward to your new lighting options.
    Thanks for sharing your inspiration!

  14. How exciting! I love the glass birch ornaments and the contemporary hanging star!

  15. Beautiful work and collection. Wish I had a place to find sticks of all sorts in CT but haven’t found a place like yours.

  16. Rebecca brooke says

    How about selling your fabulous goods online ??? I just love the red headed white feather birds !
    Then it wouldn’t matter how far away we are we could still be able to buy from you !
    I live in Dorset, England .

  17. Paul Michaud says

    I cannot wait to see the lights at night you are such a constant source of inspiration ….. much needed at this dark time of year

  18. The last of the beautiful fall color is fading here in northern NJ and I am feeling the winter blues coming on. Your blog today is a great reminder that winter can also be a beautiful time for gardeners. Thanks for the inspiration, Deborah! Enjoy the open house!

  19. Claudia Burch says

    Thank you for the winter inspiration, sorry I missed your open house, but
    will be coming to see your excellent unique winter items,

    Thank you,


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