I have devoted a lot of ink on and off over the past 5 years to the story of how my shop came to be. Why is this? As important as it was to me personally, I think it is an interesting story. The bel’occio gene-I think both Rob and I have that. When I look at these pictures of our opening night, I am struck by how sparsely furnished the space was. It was a giant expenditure to get the building ready for company.
What I had to spend left over to furnish it was 1/4 of what it cost to make the space habitable. We did as much of the work as we could ourselves. And we bought a few great things. Beautiful handmade pots. An antique iron sculpture from Paris that took the lions share of what we had to spend on ornament. So we had lots more that opening night in the way of excitement and good will than ornament for the garden. A place where people would feel welcome came first.
Two of my oldest landscape clients sprung for this opening party-I still work for them both, and love them dearly. They saw to entertaining my guests. Forging relationships over the landscape is one of the best parts of my job. They encouraged me to persist in transforming a dream into a reality. Though that night was many years ago, I still recall it vividly.
I was excited beyond all belief to have Detroit Garden Works full of people for the first time. No landscape I have designed and installed gets my seal of approval until I see how people interact with it. Do the spaces work? Are they comfortable? Are they on occasion provocative? Is there a natural and easy flow? Does it handle traffic, kids, entertaining, reflection and family? Would you smile, or study what you saw? This particular landscape was near and dear to my heart. As it turned out, there was no need to be nervous. Landscape clients and friends were all about expressing their good will.
This night was not about making a passing grade. Or who we had been. It was a beginning. An opening statement. All these years later, it only takes the first signs of spring to bring out the garden in us.