The 62nd Birthday

pruning boxwood

Pruning.  As in Mindy, who owns M and M Flowers with her sister Melissa, sent her crew to prune the boxwood and Techny arborvitae at the shop, on June 15,  my birthday.  If you pruned your boxwood in early April, ahead of that string of killing frost nights in late April, I can only say that better things come to those who wait. Next year, wait until the spring growth on your boxwood fully flushes out-this means the first week of June-and then prune. We only do this once a year; it is a day worth waiting for.  Not so much frost damage is visible now.

Poem. As in a gift from Jenny.  Jenny handles all of our internet inquiries, sales, and shipping.  She keeps the website updated via her photographs, and writing.  She wrote this poem as a gift to me for my birthday.  If you read the poem, you will see clearly that she sees me.  She is good at that with many people-not just me.  I can only say it feels good to be seen.  I could never pay her for what she is worth-that part of her is a gift to me. She has an astonishingly inventive artisanal publishing company which produces great work for clients, in her off time.  I wish you could hold the paper in your hand, and study the type.     

Portrait. A graphite portrait of the Corgis.   Pete and Tine are the sum total of my blood family-they live far away.  They commissioned Sheona Hamilton Grant, a Belgian artist who specializes in equestrian and canine portraits, to draw my beloved Corgis.  Apparently Rob provided photographs.  The drawing captures their spirit, and my love for them.  I was so shocked and so delighted-having unpacked the crate. They are the best blood family any girl could hope for, and Sheona is a very talented artist.     


Providence.  As in the protective nature of Of God, or of nature, as a spiritual power-this from Wikipedia.   17 years ago, Rob hauled a concrete statue of the Madonna up to the north side of my house-he placed it under a rough roof supported by pipes.  I was certain that structure was a shrine to the Madonna.  She would look out and after me, and my garden.  But a few years later, my Madonna was stolen.  She has been gone for 9 years, this year.  For my birthday, Buck replaced that statue.  Why at 62 does this mean so much?   I am a Catholic of the sort that believes in the miracle that is nature.  As for God-oh yes, I am a believer.  I so believe the stories of all of the saints, but I especially treasure any sculptural expression of the Madonna.  My life and garden is once again under her protection now, thanks to Buck.             

Playing it forward.   20 years ago Rob came to work for me.  16 years ago I bought a building, and made plans to open a shop devoted to all great things for the garden. Rob was there every step of the way.  Cheering the both of us on.  Shopping overseas.  Giving his all.  Those early Detroit Garden Works years were tough.  We worked day and night.  He loaned everything he had to this project.  His eye, his talent, his energy and his heart.  Back then, there were no shops devoted to fine ornament for the garden.  We were foolhardy, and patient.         

Detroit Garden Works is quite a place.  Have you been there?  If you go, you will see Rob’s influence everywhere.  You will not get better help with a project or an issue in a garden anywhere better than his help-of this I am convinced.  On the afternoon of my birthday on Friday, I went to my attorney and put the shop in trust for Rob.  It will go to him.  Saturday night Buck cooked up a birthday dinner for all of the Detroit Garden Works staff.  I had a special tee shirt made for everyone to commemorate the event.  Everyone at work was in on the plan-Rob had no clue what was coming.  Needless to say it was a very emotional and happy occasion.  Becoming 62 meant to me it was time for him to know the shop would eventually be his, when I am  still around to help.  With him more involved the the DGW business, I might have more time to spend on writing and taking photographs-and myy first love-the landscape.  I am happy and to say I have I have made a change that makes turning 62 worth it.  The best part-I paid it forward to a person with whom I have had an important relationship for 20 years.  I cannot tell you how good this felt.

Party-as in a true cause for celebration.  The Detroit Garden Works staff is very fond of Rob-this was a move they approved.  One birthday present from Rob-glow sticks.  We all wore them.  Buck cooked brats, and made potato salad. 

Present.  As in we were all present, and Rob had another present that so tells the story of what a remarkable human being he is.  Wish lanterns-have you ever heard of them?  I had not.  He regularly advises me about things I have never heard of-this is just one of the thousand reasons that I treaure him.  They look like a small paper version of a hot air balloon.  You light the base on fire, wait for the warm air to fill the paper balloon, and gently send them skyward.  Make a wish.   Go for broke.  Launch something.       


I sent no wish aloft for Rob.  He doesn’t need any wishes-He is chock full of talent.  My wish was entirely for my own 62nd year-hopefully full of surprises, challenges, and meaningful work.  This was my happiest birthday ever-no kidding.  




  1. Of course, the very reason that you think this way is why we all love you so much. You wear your spirit on your sleeve and ooze that very rare plasma — grace. Thank you for sharing this very beautiful story…and modeling a grace-filled life for us. Congratulations to Rob…and to all. What a beautiful story. By the way, you work isn’t done yet. xxoo The other M & M

    • Deborah Silver says

      Thanks for this letter, Michael. You are right-my work is not done yet. We have a ways to go-yes! Deborah

  2. I hv bn reading yr postings for some time now -enjoying just abt everyone. Beautiful stories and beautiful photos. Reading this one made me teary-eyed. Wht a great success story – wht a wonderful and admirable act of love, appreciation, kindness and love. Thank you.

  3. I would have loved to spend the evening with you two.
    This is a really beautiful true story.
    I wish you a very bon anniversaire and i hope to meet you one day.

    Kiss from Paris

    • Deborah Silver says

      Someday, Delphine! For sure you would have loved the party-and we would have loved having you there. Thanks for your kiss! Deborah

  4. Happy Birthday Deborah, and thanks for all this beauty you put in the world and part with us!
    Hugs and kisses

  5. Happy birthday Deborah. May your upcoming year be filled with much inspiration and grace.

  6. How absolutely wonderful for both of you!! I am deeply impressed by your generosity on so many levels, Deborah, and I’m hoping you find great fulfillment in the coming years. as you continue to write, photograph, etc.. ( A book should be on your horizon. To Rob, Congratulations! You truly deserve the faith and confidence that Deborah has placed in you. I am grateful for the store, Deborah’s blog (it consistently makes my day) and both of you.

  7. Deborah, congratulations to you and Rob! I hope you year is indeed full of surprises, challenges and meaningful work. And speaking of meaningful, I turn to this blog regularly for inspiration and lessons. Thank you for your wonderful work and insight.

  8. Our congratulations to the both of you! How wonderful that you will be able to “smell more roses along the way”. I’m sure this means there will be time for a dinner on our patio now! Hugs and Kisses to the both of you.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Lauren, the shop should be his-he has always treated it as if it were his. You cannot hire, or pay for that-it just has to be there. You learn to run a business by doing it, and I will be here to help him with that. I am ready for that dinner on the patio any time! Thanks, Deborah

  9. Rob Beebe says

    Deborah, you can add my handsome patio to that list for dinners as well. A heartfelt birthday wish to you from the coastal islands of downeast Maine.
    ROB (the other one, that is)

  10. Great Great, bene benissimo, super for Rob , I am sure he will do a great Job, and congratulations for your 62-birthday as we say here Tanti auguri!!!!!
    I hope one day to be able to vist you, Rob and your shop! I am happy to follow your blog and thanks for all informations you give us about plants garden design…ecc and as well for the emotions you are able to evocate in me with your writing…Grazie, your Giacomo

    • Deborah Silver says

      Giacomo, I treasure our long distance relationship over the garden! I too hope one day you can visit. I am always so happy to hear from you. Grazie, your Deborah

  11. Happy belated Deborah! I wish our timing worked out during our recent trip… Next time… Choked up when I read this post… Beauty beyond the garden but in the soul! Congratulations to you both! Ann

  12. Deborah, I am just reading this post because I like to save them up so I can spend alot of time enjoying all your stories and pictures.
    Today was a shocker. What a lovely thing to do for Rob. It resorts my faith in people. If you work hard and do nice things, good things will come to you.
    Now I am crying, I spent yesterday with my husband and a lawyer because we have to split a family business due to his brothers stealing and dishonesty and bad behavior with employees.
    Anyway, I hope you had a wonderful birthday and many many more.

  13. Looking forward to the next chapters.

    You mentor by doing.

    Thank you.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

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