The Garden Cruise

I will admit to being a little tired today-the garden tour is an all day affair.  It happened to be conducted in 93 degree heat-but I am happy to say we had a great turnout.  The gardens to the last looked fresh and well tended.  The annual plants are thriving on our heat.  I did go through 3 cases of water at my garden-most people come to my place in the afternoon.  But I had a little treat waiting for the hot and the tired who came after 2.

 My fountain is my most favorite feature in my landscape.  It is a pleasure to watch, and to hear.  But it turned out to be quite the cooler for my overheated guests.  I invited everyone to take off their shoes, and get in.  Almost everyone took me up on the invitation.   

Six of the seven gardens on tour featured water in some form or another.  A pair of beautiful swimming pools-one from the late 1920’s, and one from the 1970’s-each made a strong visual statement.   I myself would not want one.I have a scaled down, hybrid version of a swimming pool.  My fountain is filtered and cleaned with same equipment that cleans a pool or spa.  This means my fountain does double duty-when I have a need, I get in it, and cool off.  This fountain could be home to a hot gardener, but yesterday it was home to a school of goldfish and some water cabbage.    

Not everyone has space for a vegetable garden that consumes acreage.  This small garden has a trio of tomatoes, underplanted with various herbs.  What is better in late summer than homegrown tomatoes?  This very small garden made a big nod to the idea of good food from the garden.

This very contemporary home I landscapes probably 16 years ago.  The columnar beech are maintained at a level beyond my wildest dreams.  It is an intellectually ad toughly minimal landscape.  I was happy to hear the level of discussion that I did.

When someone calls me to design a Japanese garden for them, I direct them elsewhere.  I am a westerner by heritage, culture and experience.  Under no circumstances could I design a Japanese garden-I am woefully inadequate.  In this case, I did reluctantly design and plant a contemplative garden in that Eastern style.  There was much talk on the tour about this small space-unexpected, it was.  No kidding-it is the only landscape space I have ever done like this.

One of the Dearborn landscapes is freshly done-it has been in ground but 11 months.  The son of one of my oldest and most treasured clients got the bug for gardening from his Mom.  Many thanks, CB.  This house new to he and his family has been completely renovated.  A pergola with a solid roof is slated to go over his western facing rear terrace any day now.  This formal landscape with a decidedly modern twist-fresh and striking.

Perennial gardens,planted largely with white, purple and lavender hardy plants, got some help this first season from some verbena bonariensis. 

A Normandy style tudor on acres of land belongs to oted interior designer Linda Powers.  I had nothing to do with this old and established landscape.  I came late to the landcape conversation; I consult with her about her container plantings, and plant them.  Her garden was the subject of much conversation.  Her old Stewartia in full bloom-on every Iphone in the group.

It was a very hot day, yes.  But all manner of keen gardeners came out, and toured.  The reception afterwards-I had such a good time. At 5pm, Buck promised he would water the pots, so I could go that afterglow party.    I live a charmed life.


  1. Carol Burke says

    Deborah, thoroughly enjoyed your garden cruise! Was totally wowed by Steve’s garden, since we have four children (probably) soon to soon become first time homeowners. This garden was a treasure trove of inspiration. Favourites: stunning pots in both front and back (particularly admired the different character of the pots), the front mini flower garden, the green ‘patchwork’ at the boulevard, the cleanness and artfulness of the mini vegetable garden, the nod to the ‘formal’ garden on the west side, multiple seating areas…could go on for a long time. (In fact, my husband is tired of hearing me talk about THAT garden !) for me that was the WOW garden, mainly because I’m thinking more small space these days…
    However, I need to add that your garden is much more magnificent than any of the photos have portrayed. It is sophisticated. I is very clever,-which I totally expected it would be! I loved the imposing scale of the pots. As for the ‘wringing of the hands’ experience, I’m glad that happened, since we will now be able to see the birthing and development of a perennial border garden! pLEASE keep us posted! Thanks Deborah, for giving us a peep behind so many scenes this weekend ! Totally enjoyed it, despite being fried!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Carol, I so thoroughly enjoyed reading your letter! It means a lot to hear back. I thought this tour was a really good one, in that all of the gardens were so different in age and feeling. Steve’s place is a gem of a garden-I will forward your comment to him. He has worked very hard, putting it all together. Wow-it was hot that day. There for a moment I wondered whether we should switch to a winter/holiday cruise! Thanks again, Deborah

  2. Deborah, thank you for posting these pictures, I spent a lot of time looking at the details, and the fact that photos are enlargable (did I just make up a word?) really helps.
    I especially liked pics # 2 and 3, because they have all things I love and the path made of 2×2 (are they even larger?) pavers is one of them.

    Beautiful gardens.


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