Garden Photo of the Day

GPOD on the Road: O’Neil House in Akron, Ohio

A fitting garden for a historic house

stairway into the garden

Today Carolyn Hirning is taking us along on a trip to a beautiful garden she visited in June.

I thought you might like to see photos from a visit to Akron, Ohio, in June 2021. This was my first trip since the start of the pandemic, so that in itself was pretty exciting.

Our first night away from home was at the beautiful O’Neil House B&B. We planned to visit the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens the following day, and to our delight, we discovered that the O’Neil House was a mini version of Stan Hywet.

The owner of the O’Neil House is Gayle Johnson, a lovely woman who is now in her mid-80s. Forty years ago, she bought the decrepit mansion and renovated it almost entirely by herself—no husband, no children, just her patience and persistence. (Well, yes, she did hire help for the big projects, such as a new roof.)

I wish I had taken more photos of Gayle’s house, but I was in love with the serene garden areas.

Hundreds of thousands of people have visited the well-known Stan Hywet, but if you want to avoid the crowds and even live in a beautifully renovated Tudor mansion, then the O’Neil House is the place to go!

formal gardenThe beautiful formal garden design fits with the age of the historic building. Everything is lush and beautifully maintained.

water feature, dotted with the leaves of water liliesA look at the water feature, dotted with the leaves of water lilies (Nymphaea sp., Zones 5–9)

“blue” hostasBig, “blue” hostas (Hosta hybrids, Zones 4–9) add a contrasting note to many shades of green in the garden.

garden walk behind pondThe statue at the edge of the water features an inviting garden walk behind it.

shrubs surround stone pathwayThis path begs to be explored. The shrubs block the view of what comes next, making the garden feel bigger.

Tudor mansionLooking back at the classic architecture of the Tudor mansion, garden, and house in perfect harmony

steps leading into gardenThere is something magical about these steps leading on to another part of the garden.

stone paversStone pavers add a touch of formality to a woodland walk.

View Comments


  1. sandyprowse 11/19/2021

    Splendid grounds. Just truly splendid. Thank you for posting. What an oasis. Would be a thrill to see such grounds in person. Lucky you.

  2. starrtiktokk 11/19/2021

    Amazing information providing by your article, thank you so much for taking the time to share a wonderful article.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 11/19/2021

    Wow! Thank you for sharing.

  4. pattyspencer 11/19/2021

    So peaceful looking

  5. gardendevas 11/19/2021

    What a beautiful estate - thank you for sharing! I live within an hour of Stan Hywet and have visited multiple times, but had no idea about this place. Glad to know!

  6. User avater
    simplesue 11/19/2021

    What a beautiful house and garden!
    The garden is so natural and formal at the same time, and makes a great view from the house.
    I googled the house and garden and saw more photos, and wow what a pretty glad it was saved from the wrecking ball when the current owner bought it.
    Thanks for sharing this!

  7. User avater
    cynthia2020 11/19/2021

    Hi, Carolyn. Love all the green, the water feature, and the paths. Look like a terrific place to stay, too! Thank you for the text and photos.

  8. btucker9675 11/19/2021

    Gorgeous! Gayle Johnson must be a fascinating woman. Thank you for sharing the fruits of her labor.

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