Annual trip to Detroit

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Last weekend I made my semi-annual trip up to the northern suburbs of Detroit for work and inspiration reboot (there are lots of photos to share). I have posted about this trip before, but I find new inspiration each time I go. Detroit is in the news mainly about the post apocalyptic state and mass exodus of the city proper residents. However those who can invest in the city and outside in the suburbs, really are investing, building and taking pride in their area. I am not one to go into the politics of the situation, but I do advocate visiting Detroit. We ate very well, explored very different areas and met with passionate gardeners. The Pure Michigan commercials really are true.

 

One of the main reasons for the timing of our trip was to take part of Detroit Garden Work’s annual Garden Cruise benefiting Greening of Detroit. I believe Deborah Silver and the folks at Branch and Detroit Garden Works are true artists, craftsmen and really just pure genius. When we drive around, you can spot Deborah’s work instantly in either container design or the form she creates in a garden. I really wanted the chance to tour her gardens from more than the street, and the pleasure of touring her own garden at home. There were six gardens featured, some all by Deborah others were a combo of her and the home owners.  Here are photos from the gardens on the tour:

 

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The containers are Branch Studio designed and were planted well over 10 feet tall. The photo does not do the scale justice.

 

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

The next house on the tour was a smaller Tudor style with a silver front yard and pure green structural back yard.

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

This home featured a front bed planted with three pure silver plants, that provided a calm palette with movement and texture. See the photos below for the whole layered design.

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The home also featured branch studio window boxes planted with:

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The sphere and water features are both designed by Branch Studio via Detroit Garden Works.

 

Another house on the tour featured an elliptical shaped garden and a border of perennials- but the true show stoppers were the twin fountains flanking the central walkway.

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Our final stop on the tour was Deborah’s home. The show stopping feature were the home’s original containers (featured below) and her bubbling water feature. Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodAnnual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Since our trip was to pick up some containers from Detroit Garden Works, Here are some photos from the store. They create and import some of the finest garden containers and decor. Always worth a visit to see the unique.

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Works, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Works, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

This water feature was insane. It was created by welding all the individual rods by men swapping every 20 minutes to ensure a random pattern.

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Works, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

We also made our first visit to Urban Detroit Gardens and Fleur Detroit which is just down the street from Detroit Garden Works. Honestly kicked ourselves for never stopping on previous trips. The shop blends the entire garden lifestyle with outdoor, interiors and flowers/events.

Annual Trip to Detroit, Urban Detroit Gardens and Fleur Detroit , Thinking Outside the Boxwood Annual Trip to Detroit, Urban Detroit Gardens and Fleur Detroit , Thinking Outside the Boxwood Annual Trip to Detroit, Urban Detroit Gardens and Fleur Detroit , Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Our Trip also included a visit to Cranbrook Educational Community Campus in Bloomfield Hills and Greenfield Village in Dearborn. The sprawling Cranbrook campus includes k-9 schools, collage and two museums.

Annual Trip to Detroit, Cranbrook Educational Community Campus , Thinking Outside the Boxwood A water feature at the Cranbrook Art Museum. There was so much more to take photos of, but we had rambunctious kids, so taking photos was limited.

 

Annual Trip to Detroit, Cranbrook Educational Community Campus , Thinking Outside the Boxwood

This was the Corten landform at the entrance of the campus. Corten has yet to make its appearance in Columbus, but you see it all round in Detroit’s landscapes.

 

Below is are garden at an 1600’s English cottage at Greenfield Village. We spent a full five hours touring the buildings, playing and riding the train. What Henry Ford created was almost like the Disney World for historical life. Buildings from across America and England were transported to the village to compile a 300 year view into working and living experiences.

Annual Trip to Detroit, Greenfield Village , Thinking Outside the BoxwoodAnnual Trip to Detroit, Greenfield Village , Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

So there was our Trip to Detroit in a 20 or so photos. I could add a few more must see places, so if anyone is interested in my complete list of places to see while in the area send me an email or comment. I feel like an unofficial ambassador for Southeast Michigan.

 

Container Inspiration – Art Deco France

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This weekend McCullough’s loaned containers for the Columbus Museum of Art’s Art in Bloom event. Placed next to the museum’s entrance, the containers nodded to both the Art in Bloom event and the current exhibit Toulouse-Lautrec 1880 – 1910 Paris. We took influence from the vibrant color of Toulouse-Lautrec’s artwork and deco cast iron to compiling the flowers and containers we used. Even though the containers are created using traditional spring plants (plus some amaryllis we had blooming in our greenhouse), combined in a small 3′ x 5′ area, the impact grand compared to the same flowers often lost in the landscape bed.  Sometimes coming out of a long cold winter going overboard with color is required.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1891, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Why this works and what we used:

The grouping of three different containers allowed us to fill the entire vertical area will color.  The curly orange willows in the tall background container allowed us to provide height that is often difficult to get in containers.

Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Toulouse-Lautrec inspired planters for Art In Bloom, Columbus Museum of Art

 

This rusty cast iron planter with its decorative feet and crest gave us some history to the grouping of containers that lean more to the traditional and modern design. The low height grounds the grouping with the rich reds and yellows.  The amaryllis are a off season flower, but the large trumpet flower looked right at home with the tulips and pansies.

Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Toulouse-Lautrec inspired planters for Art In Bloom, Columbus Museum of Art

 

We added only two lily plants to this container, but provided the hit of orange to reference the curly willows. The deep red tulips, dark pansies and sweet potato vine reference the low cast iron container while the yellow forsythia bridges the height between the tall curly willows behind.

Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Toulouse-Lautrec inspired planters for Art In Bloom, Columbus Museum of Art

 

Here is the containers next to the door for full scale and impact.  These containers are good advocates for investing in containers for  home, business or event entrances.  They are a small investment with huge impact.

Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Toulouse-Lautrec inspired planters for Art In Bloom, Columbus Museum of Art