The Gardens from the 2017 Garden Cruise…


This landscape was on the Garden Cruise in tour in 2011, but extensive changes to this contemporary landscape in recent years make it well worth revisiting. This mid-70s modern house is a classic Irv Tobocman. The architecture is simple and bold. My clients updated the house, renovated the pool and pool garden, and have gone on to update and add steadily to the landscape. Both the home and landscape clearly reflect the aesthetic of my clients. Very structured, simple, and green in the public spaces. The pool garden and dining terrace are lush with tropical plants and flowers. On the west side of the house, a small, secret and serene garden with a distinctly Oriental flavor is enclosed by gingko trees and mature Limelight hydrangeas. The east lot line is an extravaganza in Princeton Gold maples. Do not miss this garden. It is a study in how a contemporary landscape can be warm and inviting.


This landscape and garden atended with loving care over the years by two avid gardeners is appropriately named Thistledown. In spite of what seemed like acres of Canadian thistle that needed to be rooted out, they managed to eradicate this terrible pest from their property. What was to come will enchant you. Some 13 years in the making, this landscape features lush perennial borders, a rose garden, an herb garden, and a cutting garden. Brad and Matt designed this landscape with an eye to a classical expression. Detroit Garden Works considers them great clients. But for a perimeter planting of screening trees, every landscape move they accomplished on their own. They treasure antique English garden ornament, and in particular, hand thrown English terra cotta pots. They have done an incredible job of creating landscape rooms – each of which is breathtaking. I am so pleased that they will be putting their landscape on tour this year. Prepare to be enchanted. The two of them have created an oasis.


My clients, living on a prominent corner in residential Birmingham, had a mind to redo an aging and tired landscape. Subsequent to a consult with them, I had an idea to plant the steep slopes from the house grade on the north and west side down to the sidewalk with masses of large scale spherical boxwood. They stepped up to the idea in a big way. The resulting landscape is compelling, and contemporary. The landscape at the front door features 4 beautiful gingko trees, surrounded by boxwood. So far, so good. A pair of Belgian stoneware pots from the Atelier Verkant in Belgium sit on the front porch. This summer, they are planted with Australian tree ferns, silver ferns, and lilac New Guinea impatiens. A private rear garden features a raised lawn panel, dotted with a gorgeous Jun Kineko ceramic sculpture. The placement of this sculpture in the landscape is beautiful. See for yourself. The rear terrace, occupied by long lounges, views a serene, crisp, and edited landscape. These clients have embraced a contemporary aesthetic in a very personal and thoughtful way.


My clients are stewards of a large property in a secluded neighborhood. Endowed with trees of considerable age and size, the landscape has that feeling of northern Michigan built in to the greater landscape. Most of the beds feature curving edges, and are informally planted with a great variety of both sun and shade loving perennials. Our work there this spring involved adding a shrub layer to the mix of trees and perennials. As very busy professional people, they find their landscape and garden a very relaxing and peaceful place to be. Adding both dwarf and larger growing shrubs to a garden helped to reduce the maintenance. What once was too labor intensive is now a more serene place to be, and enjoy. A shrub rose garden was added in a sunny spot. The landscape at the front door is a little more formal in design, but features blocks of the dwarf growing hydrangea “Bobo”. Lovely and charming, this garden.


My history with these clients dates back every bit of 17 years. Their Bloomfield Hills home was set very high above the grade of their sidewalk. The original steep and rambling steps were not so friendly to guests. Our first landscape project involved the installation of a rubble stone retaining wall, a wide and formally set of bluestone steps, and a pair of antique iron railings that would enable friends to easily get to the front door. The landscape in the front is terraced which respects and celebrates the geometry of the space. There is a clear division between the public and street side landscape, and the private and house side/front entrance garden. This front yard landscape that makes much of a celebration of a change of grade many years old is well worth a visit. You will see. The rear yard landscape has been a project in process. Early on, the rear yard landscape project was endowed by an English made conservatory that serves to this day as a dining room. Subsequent to the installation of that conservatory, a number of screening arborvitae were installed. Blocked beds of perennials warmed up that space. Just last year, my clients installed a formal rear yard landscape of their own design and making. It is very formal and so striking. I approve of their choices, and am delighted by them. It is unusual to find a client who would devote so many years to the careful and thoughtful development of a landscape. The both of them so treasure how the landscape transports them to another place. Over the moon is a good place to be in a garden.


Landscape designer Deborah Silver will put her landscape and garden on tour, along with selected gardens of her design or influence, in her 10th annual Garden Cruise - all the proceeds of which will benefit the Greening of Detroit. Her landscape, now 20 years old, provides an insight into her design process, much of which is very friendly to her beloved corgis. Sited on an one and a half city lot in an old neighborhood in Pontiac, this garden features her clean and crisp design aesthetic at work, developed over many years. An aging landscape sometimes asks for renovation. You will see lots of changes this year, including the removal of an old and ailing hedge of Hicks yews, and the installation of a collection of steel planter boxes and a pair of arbors from the Branch Studio. The property features several changes of grade. The driveway level garden is home to a patch of butterburs. Five large containers make the driveway feel more like a terrace. The fountain level garden surrounded by Princeton Gold maples has become quite shady, and is a cool place to be in the heat of the summer. The upper level garden has a new collection of roses. This small property features maturing trees, shrubs, and stands of groundcover, punctuated by favorite perennials. The deck level has 16 Italian terra cotta pots planted with seasonal flowers. The rear porch featuring a shelled cupola will be open for viewing, as usual.

Updated 7-20-17