Tour Day

 the garden cruise

Our 5th annual Garden Cruise to benefit the Greening of Detroit was yesterday-all day.  I was relieved that the sky was overcast, and there was a breeze to go along with those temperatures in the low 90’s.  I had gone to the farmer’s market on Saturday-I like to do some cut flowers in my yard, and at the shop.  Krystal, from Julie’s Floral, was happy to oblige.  I liked the white and green zinnias.  Buck was a very good sport-watching me fill his prized stainless steel double boiler with flowers. 

the garden cruise

The garden was as ready as I could make it.  The Garden Cruise used to mean that I would pick up and dispose of every stray maple helicopter, and worry over the lack of bloom in the roses.  For the 5th cruise, I was happy to get 85% of the weeds and detritus, and I didn’t worry one bit about the roses.  Why should my roses look any different than anyone else’s right now? 

the 2012 garden cruise

The centerpiece for the dining table on the deck-6 bunches of Krystal’s short white snapdragons in a terra cotta bowl.  I could not resist the white sweet, and the cippolina onions-they were so beautiful.

container gardening

My container color scheme at home this year was very different than I have ever done before.  Chocolate and silver foliage.  Pastel colored flowers.  Grey foliaged and brown foliaged begonias, and pepperomia.  After I planted, I worried that it would look terribly dispirited or just too moody, but I have decided I like it.   


container gardening

I especially like how it features the color and shapes of my Italian terra cotta.  Some pots have no trailers at all.  There were more comments than usual this year about the pots.  Thinking through the visual relationship between a pot and its plants is an important part of good container design. 

I do not plant a lot of flowers in the ground.  These two narrow strips on the driveway are enough for me to explore a color and plant scheme.  The coleus caught my eye first thing this spring.  The feathery juvenile foliage has a great texture, and the color is beautiful. Color Blaze Velvet Mocha is a new proven winners selection.  I can attest to the fact that the growth is vigorous, no Japanese beetles have bothered it, and it is well on its way to the advertised height of 24-36″.  My color scheme began with this gorgeous orangy brown newcomer. 

That tawny chocolate is repeated in the sweet potato vine, and the terra cotta.  Adding silver to the mix made for a strong contrast.  The 3D osteos feature steely white flowers that have a grey cast to them.  They have been no match for this summer’s heat.  When cooler weather returns, I will see many more flowers. 

The wall and driveway look all the better for this chocolate colored hedge. 

I almost never use green foliage, and foliage other than green together, but this I like.

2012 garden cruise

The tour was very well attended-305 gardeners for the tour, and 94 for the reception.  I have posted pictures of the reception on the Detroit Garden Works facebook page, should you be interested.  I could not be happier about the turnout. We will be able to present a better than 10,000.00 check to the Greening of Detroit.   

By later in the afternoon, the heat was starting to get to all of us.  Anyone at my garden after 3pm was invited to cool off.  I liked seeing my garden put to really good use.  To all of you who helped make this event such a success, all my thanks.  Will we do a tour in 2013?  Absolutely.   









  1. Congrats on having your career AND-AND-AND having your garden on tour.

    And thank you for doing it, helping the community.

    Garden is beyond gorgeous.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

    • Deborah Silver says

      It means much-hearing this from a gardener of your stature, Tara. Giving back-I was raised to believe this was a given. Talking and interacting with other gardeners-a pleasure. Sharing is a good thing. My career is no doubt very important to me. But most important to me is what I might pass along-to other gardeners. Meaningful, and comforting-this. Garden and be well to you too, my friend. Many thanks, Deborah

  2. yolanda turner says

    The tour was, indeed, an inspiration to me, and I’m sure, to most of the visitors to the beautiful gardens that welcomed us on your tour. Your work is beautiful. One question: regarding the home on Riverside, why all the artificial trees? My friends and I were surprised (to say the least) by this tacky addition to an, otherwise, fabulous property. It seemed out of character and unnecessary. Sorry to bring this up, but those trees were so obvious I can’t help but wonder about their addition. Thank you, though, for a lovely day.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Yolanda, if you knew my client, you would understand the fake trees. First off, she is wickedly irreverent. Secondly, she spent a fortune trying to get evergreens to grow under the canopy of that giant tree-the shade was too deep. Not willing to give up having privacy on her terrace, she put in those fake trees, all on her own. By no means was she trying to fool anyone’s eye. It is not at all out of character for her-and believe me, she is a character!

  3. Congratulations on another successful Cruise, Deborah — it all looks awesome. Thanks so much for bringing it to life for those of us too far away to enjoy it in person. Getting there is definitely on the bucket list — hopefuly, next year.

    it’s nearly triple digits again today in sun-baked Dallas (same as you, sadly) and am just in from ‘haulin’ the hoses” around the yard. Watering until we’re “red” in the face, instead of blue, Same difference. One of my favorite pics from the Tour is that of your guests dangling their feet in your fabulous fountain. SO inviting!

    I love your color scheme at your home this year — very sophisticated. Actually, “cool” rather than “hot colors” — perhpas you had a premonition about what was coming, climate wise. I’m all gray greens and whites which cool down the heat of the blazing sun, much as you described in your recent post about it. It works here and i like it alot — but i’m craving your “chocolate”, too. Am thinking how beautifully it will transition right into fall when we’re ready for pumpkin displays and such. It will be gorgeous. Oh, hurry autumn!!

    Stay cool!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Thanks Anne-I always like hearing from you. I can’t imagine what the weather will be like in August-more of this? Its just 80 right now, breezy and comfortable. For sure we are having dinner outside tonight. I was worried about that color scheme, but I am liking it just fine. I’ll post more pictures later in the summer. Stay as cool as you can! Deborah

  4. Hi Deborah,
    Your gardening is amazing — I love everything you’ve done. Those containers with the chocolate and silver foliage are just gorgeous. What an inspired combination! Thank you so much for sharing these photos. I’m just beginning to learn about gardening, but your garden is inspiration to learn more!

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