The 2016 Garden Cruise

Detroit Garden WorksFor those of you who are not aware that we sponsor a garden tour every year to benefit the programs of the Greening of Detroit-here are the details.  The Greening of Detroit is an organization that has been planting trees, teaching good environmental practices, hiring young people with poor prospects for summer jobs to water and weed, and sponsoring urban farms since 1989.They have made a mission of the health of the environment, and the health of the people who live in the city of Detroit for 25 years.

the garden cruiseFrom the Greening of Detroit website:  “Between 1950 and 1980, around 500,000 trees were lost in Detroit to Dutch elm disease, urban expansion and attrition. Troubled by this deforestation of a great city, Elizabeth Gordon Sachs devoted herself to reforesting the city. She played a key role in the 1989 founding of The Greening of Detroit. During that same time, economic constraints prohibited the city from replacing those trees. The Greening of Detroit was founded in 1989 with a single focus in mind – restore the city’s tree infrastructure.”

DSC_7282“In 2015 Detroit successfully emerged from the largest municipal bankruptcy in the United States  and swiftly began the long journey toward financial stability. This is no easy feat, but a necessary one for survival and transformation. In its heyday during the 1950s, Detroit grew to accommodate almost 2 million residents. Today we are a city of less than 700,000 residents amidst miles of vacant land. Yesterday’s industrial urban center will become tomorrow’s model of a greener, cleaner city.”

DSC_7286“Our focus at The Greening of Detroit is to enhance the quality of life for Detroiters by repurposing the land to create beautiful and productive green spaces. We involve Detroiters in the process through community engagement, education and jobs.”

DSC_7285“The trees we plant, the gardens and green spaces we create and maintain, and the workforce training programs we operate all provide economic, environmental and social benefits to the communities we serve. But most of all, we inspire visitors and residents to imagine a new paradigm for the city of Detroit.”

DSC_7292“We are committed to building stronger relationships in the communities we serve. We assist neighborhood groups in forming block clubs; visioning green strategies for vacant lots; and coordinating neighborhood clean-ups, tree plantings and community gardens. We recruit Detroit residents for job training and work in green skill jobs.”  I can attest to the fact, given my association with them over the past decade, that they have worked tirelessly for the environmental health of the city of Detroit and its residents. I greatly admire their efforts. I more admire that they have worked towards their mission for 25 years. They are a serious group. Further interested?

thegardencruise.orgDeborah Silver and Company, our landscape design/build firm, Detroit Garden Works, a retail store that specializes in containers and garden ornament of every period and aesthetic persuasion, and the Branch Studio, which fabricates heirloom quality pots, garden furniture, and garden ornament in steel steeped in the midwest tradition of fine manufacturing – all three of my companies support the mission of the Greening of Detroit. We support their mission with words, but we also host a garden tour once a year to raise money for their programs. We have raised to date 93,000.00 to date in support of their mission.

IMG_9409Though I sit on their board, I am not so happy or useful attending meetings.  In 2008, I decided to sponsor a garden tour of landscapes of my design or influence, in an effort to raise money for them. 100% of the cost of the tour tickets goes to the Greening. A tour ticket is 35.00. A tour ticket including our after tour dinner and cocktails, and live music is 50.00. We handle the cost of that afterglow dinner party on our own. It is worth the price of admission to see what summer cocktails Rob has in store for this tour, in addition to his stellar gin and tonics.

IMG_9415We send the entire proceeds of all of our ticket sales to the Greening.  Any other expenses, we handle. If you are a local gardener with a keen interest in design, and have a mind to contribute to an organization that has the best interests of an organization devoted to the greening of Detroit, come tour with us. The entire price of your ticket will go to an organization whose mission is dead to right. We sponsor an afterglow dinner and drinks at Detroit Garden Works, starting at 4pm. Our garden cruise has a website. You can read about this year’s landscapes scheduled to be on tour Sunday July 17 here:  The 2016 Garden Cruise   Any questions about the tour that the website does not answer?  Call us.   Detroit Garden Works

IMG_9226 (3)Every one of the 6 landscapes on tour is worth seeing-I can promise you this. Our light dinner and drinks, replete with live music from Tola at Detroit Garden Works, is an event all of us enjoy. To those of you who came from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Louisiana, Georgia, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Minnesota last year-thank you.  I hope you all will come again this year. If you have not been on our tour, consider it. The Greening of Detroit, and our companies who support their work, will thank you. We have a city we love, and a city we support. Hope to see you July 17.








  1. Debora, how I wish I were closer to you, as I would for sure be there!!! I love your designs and your blog! I’m in Windsor Heights, Iowa and am on Keep Windsor Heights Beautiful committee, and we have a garden tour every other year for the beautification our community. We just put in a beautiful Butterfly Garden for all to enjoy. I wish more homeowners would open their gardens for others to see. It excites everyone to take an interest in their yard. We have the problem here in Iowa of Ash Borer and will hate to loose our 50 year old tree in the front yard. We did get it treated last year in hopes of saving it.
    I love your mission of Greening Detroit, and your dedication to helping your clients have a beautiful yard to enjoy. Thank you for sharing your knowledge of plant design and all the other things you share with us. I have learned so much from reading your blog! I know your garden tour will be a big success, as always. Looking forward to your pictures of the event too. We all appreciate you and your company….and Rob!!!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Many thanks for your letter, Karen. Gardeners are by and large community oriented people. They are also people who make a mission of respecting nature. all the best, Deborah

  2. looking forward to heading north next year after retirement – have 2017’s date yet. looking forward to it!!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear CC, 2017 will be my last tour. 10 years is long enough for any event. I hope you will be able to attend. I promise a great tour in 2017. all the best, Deborah

  3. Sharon in Kansas City says

    Hope you plan to share the garden tour with your blogger friends who are unable to attend.

  4. Heather Burkhardt says

    Inspiring, on ALL levels.

  5. How beautiful, all of it. Thank you.
    Susan in MT

  6. I can’t get enough of your posts. You make the world… everything… beautiful!

  7. Lisa B Bowman says

    It is so nice to read something positive about Detroit. Most articles focus on the negatives. I am happy to read that there are positive things happening there.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Lisa, there are a lot of positive things happening in Detroit-and this is one of them. best, Deborah

  8. Cara Kazanowski says

    When is this year’s Garden Cruise — maybe I missed the date in your writeup. Thanks, Cara

    • Deborah Silver says

      It is Sunday, July 17, from 9-4:30. Our reception at Detroit Garden Works starts at 4. best, Deborah

  9. I enjoy your posts. If I am ever in your area I hope I am driving my own car and can bring home some treasures

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