Garden Photo of the Day

A video tour of Tim’s side garden in Columbus!

Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

Today’s post is a special treat! I’ll have to give you some background first. A few months ago my hubby (rwotzak), who works just down the hall from me over at Fine Homebuilding, messaged me to tell me that Google was having a competition to choose beta testers of its new device, the Google Glass. It’s a funky pair of glasses that you can wear around and use to take photos and videos, and if you tether it to your cell phone, you can get directions, do simple Google searches, etc. All I had to do was tweet what I’d do with Glass. I said “#ifihadglass I would use it to give tours of the gardens I visit this summer on my blog, …!” Well, they chose me as one of just a couple of thousand people to become a tester! Of course, we still had to BUY the device, but Taunton was game, so we did it!

What you see below is our first video tour using the Google Glass. I took the device with me when I visited our friend and fellow GPODer Tim Vojt (Vojt) in Columbus, and while I can’t show you the entire tour (his FRONT garden will be in the magazine next year!!), I can share his side garden. Keep in mind that I’m still very new with this thing. I didn’t talk at all, and it’s a bit jumpy as I walk along, but just imagine you’re me, taking a quiet stroll through Tim’s lovely garden. Feel free to tell me what you would want in future tours–like talking, more stopping and looking around, conversation, etc. For example, I wish I’d had Tim give me a tour, with him in front of me, pointing out his favorite bits, I should have slowed down quite a bit, and I should have looked down more often. Let me know what you think–after all, you guys are the reason we invested in this nifty tool. Enjoy! And stay tuned… I’ll be taking it with me to the High Line in NYC later this week….

View Comments


  1. user-1020932 09/18/2013

    well, tim, not that your place needed the upgrade at all but i think Michelle just boosted the cool factor of your place with the google glass. was it "weird" wearing/walking/using them?

  2. deeinde 09/18/2013

    What fun, Michele! Your ideas of the tour with the gardener, slowing down and looking down are all good ones. I can't wait to see what else you film! There are so many times when I wished I could look 'a little bit off to one side' looking at a photo. Now you can be our eyes!

  3. RenataCT 09/18/2013

    What a great garden! I love side gardens that surround paths leading to other spaces. They evoke a sense of anticipation for what lies beyond.

    Michelle, the video tour is really cool - I'd love to be able to slow it down to take a closer look along the way and some commentary would be nice too. Can't wait to see the High Line in NY.

  4. crizmo 09/18/2013

    Thoughts on Vojt's garden:

    I like the milkweed along the walk. It reminds me that what is and is not a weed is arbitrary. I have two poke weeds in my yard that I value.

    The bamboo cladding of the chain link fence is a great idea.

    I would like to see more details of that circular gravel bed in the back.

  5. user-1020932 09/18/2013

    tim are those agaves i spied by the back steps?!?!? just like danger gardener says: "there are always agaves if you look hard enough" how long have you had them in the earth there? some live here some don't depends on which variety and if i can keep them dry enough in winter

  6. gloriaj 09/18/2013

    Love the tour,except you are right Michelle you should slow down and and take a closer look. For your first time I think it was very nice. Tim's garden is one of my favorite and to see a video of it was enjoyable. You will improve the more you do it. I look forward to more video

  7. mainer59 09/18/2013

    This technology has wonderful potential. Your ideas for improvement sound perfect. What I liked was seeing how parts of the garden relate to each other. You have featured Tim's garden several times, but still pictures are shot from various angles, etc, and it is hard to know how the parts go together. Thank you for doing this and Tm for being the first venu.

  8. terieLR 09/18/2013

    Yay! I love the video tour idea. It opens up so many possibilities. Would a good quality camera video be acceptable also? I have pondered this idea for some time now while photographing here in the woodland. What a wonderful way to tour our favorites here on GPOD.
    Tim's garden is just as I imagined. Thank you Michelle and Tim.

  9. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/18/2013

    Count me a fan...of google glass and, of course, Tim's garden! The quality of the video was least on my computer bluriness...amazing clarity. I liked the continuous walk through approach because I got to understand much better the lay out and spatial relationships.
    Tim, your garden gets a multiple thumbs up in whatever medium it's shared.
    Commentary would probably be nice. It could be like those 2 wonderful HGTV garden shows that no longer air. One was A Gardener's Journal with Kathy Renwald and the other, A Gardener's Journal with Erica Glasner. I LOVED those shows and really miss them. Hmmm, I'll bet repeats of them are hiding out somewhere on the internet.

  10. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/18/2013

    oops, made a mistake...bad proof reading... not that it matters but Erica Glasner's show was titled A Gardener's Diary

  11. coleuslove 09/18/2013

    Love your video Tim,your garden looks like a labour of love. Serious hosta envy here in the Caribbean.Are you a little sad that Fall is here? What kind of a Fall garden do you have? Just curious...#gardenblessings

  12. TheRealKathie 09/18/2013

    Michelle, This is unbelievably spectacular and awesome. I am truly dazzled! I don't think you can go wrong, no matter what you do with this format. Have fun with it!

  13. joycedaffodilhill 09/18/2013

    Most enjoyable. What was the wildlife you began to follow in your return trip?
    Someone asked about the gravel area in the back, what is that? Love the side yard and the glazed bricks in the pathway. Choice of planting great. I loved the garden shows mentioned and Ms. Glasner is on the net.

    All in all a successful trial. Voice would be great. The gardener giving a tour a plus. Loved it.

  14. SuzanneNoel 09/18/2013

    Great idea. Would love to hear commentary about what you're seeing. And if it's possible to edit the material, would like to see closeups and more details. Can't wait to see the next one.

  15. Miyako 09/18/2013

    Michelle, this idea of the video tour is really fab. I know you probably didn't want your voice, but it would be great if Tim could point out some of the highlights or you can, adding narration. (I also just enjoyed the bird's call in the background.) Video combined with some super beautiful photos you take would make it so nice. (there is something about the photos that I am not ready to give up)
    Tim, your garden is beautiful. You are making me rethink my shade garden...

  16. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/18/2013

    Thanks for the great comments and I second the positive comments on the video tours. Michelle-can't wait to see the high line and I am breathing a huge sigh of relief that you did not ask me to give a guided, talking tour! Is there a way to edit out the unfinished parts of my yard?! :)
    Jeff-cracked me up with my favorite danger garden quote! Agave parry-David Salman's collection (high country gardens). The pups next to the steps have been there two winters now; you can see the mother plant in the circular gravel garden. She has been in the ground 6+ years with just a little damage to the young spines during winter. Trying A. ovatifolia and A. parry truncata this year (with some protection).
    Crizmo: the circular gravel garden is the first part of my garden that was posted on the blog-although it looks quite different now. Posted here:
    The common milkweeds have great fragrance and the ones in this video are now well over 9ft tall, which is pretty unusual. They are starting to run pretty aggressively, though.
    Coleuslove: Fall is my favorite time. The garden is winding down, but the grasses are showing off now and we're getting some fall color. It's such a great time to move plants around, so that is fun, and I look forward to a break from gardening as winter sets in. I can't imagine gardening in the caribbean, but I think I could adapt!

  17. pattyspencer 09/18/2013

    I've had the pleasure of meeting Tim and his family this past summer - truly a delightful person! His garden is just gorgeous and I really enjoyed my afternoon with him. Awesome tour with those glasses!! And congratulations Tim on getting a feature in the magazine - you (and your garden) truly deserve it!! Now if I can just figure out how to steal him away to do his magic in my yard (magic is truly the right word seeing as it needs a lot of work)- lol

  18. sheila_schultz 09/18/2013

    Tim, I love seeing your gardens in any format, they are so thoughtfully designed. You are the master when it comes to using texture. I can't wait to see your front gardens next year in Fine Gardening, congrats!!!
    Michelle, I really like the potential of this format. I think it will allow the viewers to see the whole garden as opposed to a vignette and also allow us to see parts of gardens that are difficult for non-professional photographers to capture. I do like the concept of the homeowner coming along on the tour commenting on his/her fave spots, naming certain plants, etc. I can't wait to see your tour of High Line... next best thing to being there myself!

  19. tractor1 09/18/2013

    I like the stills but I like the cine too, great job, Michelle... and there must b e a way to dub in a narrative later. And Tim, don't crop out parts of your property, it's all the same canvas but seeing the to-do portion makes it much more personable... if all I want is to see plants I can take a trip to garden depot.

  20. GrannyCC 09/18/2013

    Hi Tim,
    Loved your garden. Everything is so lush and beautiful. Just wondered how you attached the bamboo to the fence.
    It is wonderful having a video tour.

  21. user-7006902 09/18/2013

    Love this! Love hearing the birds and "walking through" this fabulous garden. It would be great to point out some of the plants in a narrative. More, more, more. I also just love slideshow stills. I love my daily dose of garden on this blog!

  22. Aarchman07030 09/18/2013

    Really enjoyed the video tour. I am often frustrated by GPOD's that don't give me a sense of the overall layout and logic of the garden. This format makes the relationships of the pieces to the whole so clear.

    I know from photographing my own work (Architect) that you can always come up with a beautiful shot of even the least successful space with the right staging and a photographer who knows how to crop the shot properly. A 360-degree video tour, on the other hand, is merciless, which makes the consistent beauty of Tim's garden all the more impressive.

    I agree with Tractor1--any spots that are less than pristine just make the space feel more real and--to me, anyway--more appealing.

    For folks asking Michelle to stop more frequently--you can hit the pause button any time you want and study the details to your heart's content. I vote "yes" for narration--preferably by the gardener him/herself (with lots of details about how and why) and "no" for frequent stops: I'd rather make my own decisions about where and when to stop.

  23. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/18/2013

    Granny C: I have to give credit to Cali Bamboo for the fencing idea. Along the side yard, the bamboo is built into an actual cedar fence. The bamboo that is covering the chain link fence is simply wired to chain link fence-on both sides at the gate, and on the inside on other parts of the yard. Instructions are on the vendor web site.

  24. Rockysstuff 09/18/2013

    I'm very disappointed because all I see where the video is supposed to be is a blank space hence no video. Sounds fun though.

  25. Chrisbosa 09/18/2013

    I agree- I enjoyed seeing the panoramic view, hearing the birds, getting a real feel for the size and shape of the gardens. Fantastic! A great investment!
    I also, would like to hear commentary and see some close-ups and names of the plants.

  26. crizmo 09/18/2013

    Hey Rocky. Do you have Adobe Flash Player? Its the platform that I see the video on. Its a free download at

    If you go there for a download, I advise opting out of the McAfee security add on that is bundled with Flash Player.

  27. Sunbeams 09/18/2013

    Unfortunately, the view from my decrepit computer hook-up (definitely not high speed!) is blurry and the video stopped at 36 seconds and refused to go further. What I can see tells me the side yard is glorious -- one of my favorite kinds of gardens. Great job, Tim!

  28. greenthumblonde 09/18/2013

    I had to wait to get on my computer because I didn't want to see it puny on my phone. How fun. My favorite part was that I could hear chirpy crickets. The true garden experience. Now if only they could capture scent.

  29. TeriCA 09/18/2013

    Hey There Michelle! Congrats on the score!!! I love the clarity of the Google product. Tim's garden is lovely. Slow it down a little bit and some commentary on the plants that are growing would be lovely!!! Fantastic!

  30. KVgarden 09/18/2013

    Michelle, re: having the gardener walk in front of you......I just know they would be blocking a special plant I want to see! ;-).

    Tim, lovely garden, I'm eager to see more.

  31. janeeliz 09/18/2013

    Love this new 'google glass' tour-sounds interesting and fun.Will you show us a picture of 'it'...or you using 'it?' Yes, definitely slow it down, Michelle, and do some close-ups. I agree- we don't want gardener in front blocking view...hmmm, still, it would be nice having gardener's commentary somehow. Lovely garden, Tim! Looking forward to your next filming.... the Highline!

  32. wittyone 09/19/2013

    Well I'm late to the party (yet again!) as I was not here yesterday to see this.

    Loved it! As was said earlier it is nice to see how everything fits together and seeing unfinished areas does make it seem more real and invites suggestions for possible additions that could be made.

    But it is somehow just a little creepy. Not when it's done with the owners permission but once these google glasses get to be in current circulation (and you know they will once the become available and the price comes down) just think what they will do in terms of eroding the already eroded area of privacy!

  33. thegardenlady 09/20/2013

    Fabulous way to tour virtually. Yes, you need to slow down and look around maybe more, showing different perspectives, and your idea of having the gardener give a tour and talk about his/her garden would be nice. I think it's a better way to 'see' a garden from afar. Nice job.

  34. oreoclover 09/26/2013

    Really enjoyed this! Was surprised by how clear the glass was.I agree with another reviewer that suggested telling us what the plants are as you look at them. Other than that I just wished it was longer!

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