A Walk Through the Secret Gardens of Detroit

A Walk Through the Secret Gardens of Detroit
Photo by Jacey Kloeckner
Photo by Jacey Kloeckner

To say I hate yard work would be the biggest understatement. In fact, I’d rather do just about ANYTHING other than trim bushes, weed flower beds, mow the grass, or lend a hand in my mother’s myriad of “yard play” projects. That being said, you can imagine my level of excitement at spending an entire day walking through the backyards of strangers. I pleaded with my mother and grandmother that as much as I enjoyed spending time with them, I thought our day would be better spent indoors. As age often trumps, we headed southeast to Metro Detroit for Detroit Garden Works annual Garden Tour benefitting The Greening of Detroit.

For the past 7 years, Detroit Garden Works has partnered with The Greening of Detroit to improve the ecosystem in Detroit through tree planting projects, environmental education, urban agriculture, open space reclamation, vacant land management, and workforce development programs. The nonprofit resource program was started in 1989 by Elizabeth Sachs to restore Detroit’s previous moniker of “The City of Trees.” The Garden Tour has raised more than $60,000 to help make a strong industrial city a little greener. Detroit Garden Works invites six garden owners in the area to open their work to the public to benefit this amazing nonprofit organization. I imagine the task of choosing which gardens to showcase is no easy feat as all the gardens we toured were nothing short of phenomenal and encompassed designs from Detroit Garden Works. The company was opened in 1996 by Deborah Silver to complement her landscape design business. The company’s home base, at 1749 Pontiac Drive in Sylvan Lake, sells a collection of garden containers, furnishings, and accessories from the United States and abroad. The company also offers design and implementation services. Detroit Garden Works was named one of the top 25 garden stores in America in 2004 and was recently featured in Martha Stewart Living Magazine.

photo (5)Have I mentioned the gardens?! Each home had a unique style and personality that reflected the relationship between the gardener and the environment. There were pools, ponds, animal shaped topiaries, sculptures, flat fruit trees, and much, much more! One thing all the gardens and spaces did have in common was passion. It was clear to see that many of the gardeners were excited to be a part of The Garden Tour. Many gardeners offered advice, tips, inspiration, and snacks for their guests.

I think it’s safe to say everyone finished the tour encouraged to undertake new garden projects of their own. YOU can help transform Detroit into a healthier, greener environment by becoming involved with The Greening of Detroit as a volunteer, attending their Live, Love Local Celebration on¬†August 24, 2013, donating to the organization, planting your own garden or participating in next season’s tour. Personally, I was inspired and dedicated to finding someone to do my yard work for me in the hopes of having a space as beautiful as the homes on the tour. Thankfully, my mom likes that sort of thing!

Jacey Kloeckner, Contributing Writer