The Gift Of The Season

holiday treeThose of you have have read this journal regularly over the past 7 years probably recognize my landscape at home. I post pictures of it often, as  I find that almost every issue that concerns, delights, or challenges me as a designer are right there brewing in my own back yard. Most every day, I tour my landscape, as there is always something to see and reflect upon. That daily tour sustains me in a way I cannot really explain. I have taken these steps up to my rose garden countless times over the past 20 years. Buck and I, accompanied by the corgis, would make the trip at the end of every day, during the gardening season. In the summer season, we took the steps up in anticipation of the roses, the beautifully aging boxwood hedges, and the quiet. We quit going the year that the extreme winter cold all but killed the roses. The devastation was very tough to take. But late in that summer, we resumed our trips.  The white Japanese anemone Honorine Jobert came on strong, swept through the devastated roses, and went on to bloom in profusion for weeks. It was a happening. The four of us celebrated the gift of the season. That next winter that killed all of the last of the life left in my roses was even harder to take. But the anemones were all that much stronger, and all that much more beautiful. Every season has its heartaches, but it is equally true that every season has its gifts. Pictured above is the view of those steps a few nights ago, just after Dan and his crew had been there to install a tree in the pot.

holiday treeThe giant pot in my rose garden organizes that small space, several seasons of the year. I plant it for summer, and for winter. The winter season is at hand. I have for many years installed a cut and lighted Christmas tree in that pot. This year’s tree was incredibly large. My landscape superintendent Dan did not blink. That giant tree dressed with thousands of lights makes me happy. Thousands of lights? Rob’s Lumineo lights from the Netherlands means that my thousands of lights from 8 strands draw next to no electricity. They are good for 50,000 hours, or ten years. I told Dan to fire up the tree.  Milo and I made the trek up those stairs that night to see the tree. I was enchanted.

holiday treeBy the next late afternoon, we had had our first snow. It was a big snow. I trudged through 10 inches of that snow after work to see my tree. I was not so keen to walk up the stairs.  What nature engineers does not need my foot prints.  I like my snow exactly as nature intended it. These LED lights generate very little in the way of heat. The light and the snow were equally compelling. The relationship established by the tree, the snow, the lights and the landscape-perfect.

late day yesterday

snow covered steps

The rose garden pot dressed for winter has never been better. It is my first stop when I get home.

The rose garden pot just past dusk, out my south side window.

The rose garden pot at 7 pm

That lighted tree, at night

A pot, a tree, and some lights can energize a winter garden. My rose garden container makes me happy. It’s as simple as that.

winter landscape lightingMake of this picture what you will. In my opinion, some light in the winter garden is a great idea.









  1. Stunning, Deborah…and like you have said, lighting the night falls under the category of winter garden.
    All the best to you, Buck and all at Detroit Garden Works. Thanks for all you do.

  2. Mario Mirelez says


  3. Sheryl Kammer says

    Absolutely, the most beautiful scene. I’m enchanted.

  4. Gorgeous, mystical. I love the pictures of different times of day.

  5. Cathy Peterson says

    Oh, tannenbaum, oh tannenbaum, how lovely are your branches. . . .and your thousands of lights! Wonderful!

  6. Michaele Anderson says

    Breathtaking and soul touchingly beautiful.

  7. Simply took my breath away, the view up the snowy steps!! Could I be so bold to ask permission to use it on my Christmas cards next year? It would be so nice to share that beauty with my family and friends.

  8. Cara Kazanowski says

    I, too, love pristine snow. Looking at my outdoor Christmas tree and light sticks and indoor light ring from my living room makes me happy from early December through March. Thanks to you, Rob & your team for creating my bright holiday light scenes, beginning years ago.

  9. O Christmas tree! Beautiful and thanks for sharing. And reminding us the beauty of life does prevail if we allow it to.

  10. Living in California, I miss the beauty of the winter snow. The incredibly-lighted tree and the surrounding whiteness are enchanting. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Penelope Bianchi says

    Drop dead gorgeous!!!


  12. It makes me happy, too! THANKYOU for sharing, I love it.

  13. And, There Is Peace. Truly Beautiful!!

  14. Absolutely Gorgeous !

  15. Shelby Staples says

    Think everything that receives your touch is gorgeous, BUT, do not like these lights in your rose garden at all, just too white. When covered in snow to soften them, o.k. A few years ago, you showed the very same placement (I believe) of an absolutely great tree wearing beautiful chartreuse lights. It was a look for a similar location at my home that I had to have. Contact with you made that possible with a place to purchase them. I got them, and tomorrow they will be placed on that smallish but plump tree for the third year in a row, and being visible by passing motorists, although more to the back side of the house, again start receiving compliments and stopping bys with questions like, “where did you get those lights,” and “what is that color called?”
    I would definitely never want these bright, harsh white (seeming from the picture) lights regardless of being less expensive and having a long-running time. Do not like LEDS. As you said, “make of it what you will.” Deborah, I thank you for my chartreuse lights and wish you a beautiful holiday and a good rest with your off time. Will be here anxiously watching and learning when your world there and my world here in Virginia blooms again. Shelby Staples

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Shelby, I understand your point. It is well taken. But the new LED’s do have a softer and warmer light. These have an orange cast to my eye. They are actually much more expensive than incandescent light strings to purchase, but they are much more durable and inexpensive to run. I like how bright they are, as they illuminate this entire area. What I like about them the best is that since they generate so little heat, the snow stays on the tree better, adding so much texture and depth. Surprisingly, Lumineo makes these lights in chartreuse. Thank you so much for taking the time to write-I appreciate it. Have a great holiday, Deborah

  16. Lisa at Greenbow says

    I and my dog Annie walk the garden at least once per day. I have felt those same heart strings pulled in certain areas when nature takes something from the garden. Yet I can’t be to disturbed by it as nature that gives back so much more. I feel sorry for your poor little Corgies with so much snow. You must have an area cleared for them to potty in. Your flocked tree looks gorgeous. To think people pay to have a tree flocked and doesn’t look near as pretty as nature’s way.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Lisa, yes, there is a spot in the yard shoveled for them-although Milo does not seem to mind wading through it at all. If Howard had his way, he would not go outside again until April. This snow was a rare one-a first snow that was heavy. I have never seen my tree look this way. best, Deborah

  17. I love the simplicity of your one beautifully lit tree. I still haven’t gotten on board with LED lights but your tree makes me wonder if it is time to consider them. Thank you for writing your posts. They make me happy everytime I read them here in Virginia.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Annette, The LED lights are not the same as the incandescent, but they are getting better.There is nothing like the incandescent light, but the LED’s are flexible and easy to use, and they last. all the best, Deborah

    • Laura ~ Raise Your Garden says

      LED lights area absolutely the best! There’s no going back for hubby – light man around our house. They are brighter, cheaper to run and look stupendous.

  18. Enchantment. Magic. Sighhhhh. It does a soul good to see such Seasonal Beauty when we cannot do it for ourselves due to climate or finance. Even more so when the beauty changes during the hours of each day….those are the best! Your pictures are a regular source of happiness. Makes me feel like humming.

  19. Deborah, I read your blog avidly and always wish that I lived nearer to you and your wonderful work! I also would like to recommend your site to our garden club via the Facebook page of which I have recently become the custodian, and I’d like to use that gorgeous picture of the snow-covered steps + tree–Beautiful image, especially for those of us down here in the South!


  20. Sandy Maher says

    More than the picture itself of your tree in the rose garden was your glorious words. “I was not keen to walk up the stairs” and “what nature engineers does not need my foot prints” Being an organic creature myself it was poetic and I wouldn’t have walked up the stairs either! Why ruin what God and nature creates… Cannot be improved upon. Merry Christmas.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Sandy, every person who works with me knows that they walk through my new snow at work-off the shoveled paths-at their own risk! I do live in the city, but I liked my undisturbed moments with nature. I sent a crew to broom the snow off a very wide and large winter arrangement that was buried in snow yesterday. When they were done, they took 5 seconds to blow the rest of the snow off, and another 15 seconds to blow away their footprints. Merry Christmas to you, too! all the best, Deborah

  21. Donna Perdue says

    Okay this has pushed me to splurge and buy these lights! I ran across them in a Christmas store on a recent trip and just couldn’t make myself spend the money There was a prelit tree too.
    I now regret that decision. Now I have an excuse to go back this summer and purchase both. After seeing the warm white LEDs versus the cool white version I’m hooked. Gorgeous photo of your tree!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Donna, my tree has the Lumineo LED twinkle light strands that are 73.8′ long, with 1000 lights per strand. They are expensive-but they are an investment. I wish they were a little more like incandescent light-but who knows what they will come out with next. I think my tree looks great. all the best, Deborah

  22. As usual a beautiful post, but your words leave me with a last peace and tranquility. Merry Christmas Deborah!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Nella, Merry Christmas to you, too. I so appreciate that you read what I write. Thank you. all the best to you, Deborah

  23. Jill Banfield says

    Oh Deborah I so love your posts. Your simple beautiful lit tree is just grand!! I also feel at home when I read your words and see your pictures because I realize that there are others out there who are just like me and appreciate the gorgeousness of snow on steps and light in the garden. It is wonderful to be apart of your community. As others have said before…you should write a book. It would be a best-seller!
    Merry Christmas,
    Jill Banfield

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Jill, thank you so much for your letter. Happy to hear that you love that fresh snow as much as I do. Merry Christmas to you too! all the best, Deborah

  24. Shelby Staples says

    Deborah, just to your reply to mine of Dec. 15. Thanks, and for the info on the chartreuse lights being available at Luminino, just not so bright, and also info on cooler lights allowing snow to hang around longer, which certainly softens the light/look. Will check into those lights for next year.

    Merry Christmas,

  25. Thank you for the happy picture!
    May your holidays be merry & bright and all your Christmases be white!

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