Garden Photo of the Day

Joe’s Front Yard Garden in Just One Year

Proof that it can be done! Joe Koller from Baltimore Highlands, Maryland shows how he could build a lovely front yard garden in just one year! Nicely done Joe!

"I saw the article in Fine Gardening issue no. 122 (A Front Yard Garden in No Time) and decided to give it a try. The garden is divided by a sidewalk into  2 areas. One area is mainly red & white because that was my wife's favorite flower color combination. The 2nd area is mainly blue and yellow. Alan Summers, former owner of Carroll Gardens and local talk show host, did the design work and selected most of the plants in these gardens. The garden is filling in nicely but I did lose  some plants this past winter. The area previously contained twoTulip trees that had grown too big for the area. I tilled in lots of compost before planting started in June of 2014."

Keep sending in photos, everyone! Whether you've never shared before or you've been featured multiple times, we want to see your garden! Email a few photos and the story behind your garden to [email protected].

Just a little extra to share with our GPOD readers – we thought you would appreciate seeing Joe's memorial garden for his late wife, who passed away on June 5, 2013. This garden was installed by his children and grandchildren shortly after her death. Alan Summers once again was very generous with his time and helped with the design & plant selection. The section on the left is an additional area they added for his mother-in-law who passed away shortly after his wife's death. There is such healing in nature, and we truly appreciate Joe for sharing this with us.

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  1. Nurserynotnordstroms 06/03/2015

    Joe,the memorial garden for your late wife was very touching to me,what a beautiful idea and a peaceful place to visit. I'm sure your late wife is smiling upon you,your children and grandchildren. Thank you so much for sharing something so personal and beautiful.

    1. user-3565112 06/03/2015

      Thank you, I hope she is with her mother & they are both smiling down on us. Even when she was sick she would try to call her mother everyday and start off by singing You Are My Sunshine to her. Thank you for your thoughts, Joe

      1. Nurserynotnordstroms 06/03/2015

        Joe I received your reply and was reading through your replys to everyone else when you said you were married 49 years and 66 days you brought tears to my eyes. I'm so happy for you and your late wife that you did have so many wonderful years together you were abviously a grat couple. Happy gardening to you.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/03/2015

    How lovely to have so many lush and colorful flowers spilling about behind your traditional picket fence. That transformation must have the neighborhood buzzing as I see only grass lawns in the yards across the street. You were guided well by the professional, Alan Summers, and I'm sure his participation meant a lot. The garden area created to memorialize your wife and mother-in-law is very serene and how nice it was a hands on family project.

    1. user-3565112 06/03/2015

      Thank you for your response to our photos. He spent a lot of time with us at the nurseries and also at his home diagramming what plants went where etc. I gave him blank gridded paper with an outline& dimensions & he took it from there. Thank you,Joe

  3. VikkiVA 06/03/2015

    Joe your front lawn turned garden is stunning. It truly is amazing how fast some plants will fill in an area. Looks like you have hardy geranium "Cranesbill" and catmint. I love both of these perennials and have just cut mine back so as to give surrounding plants more sun. Both the Cranesbill and catmint will bloom again and are what I call plants that keep giving. Vikki in VA

    1. user-3565112 06/03/2015

      Vikki, That is Cranesbill & Catmint. & I did not know it would re-bloom after cutting. In the 1st. picture the groundcover is Georgia blue veronica and I will cut that back in a small area to see if also re-blooms. The plants we bought were top quality & mostly 1 gallon size 9Usually 3 of each). I am sure that played a big part in the way they grew. Thank you for the tip, Joe

  4. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/03/2015

    Thanks for sharing such inspiring and personal garden treasures. I Love the contrast of the two gardens; it really says a lot. I love the contemplative feel of the memorial garden and the inspirational aspect of how your front garden grew so quickly into something beautiful and nurturing. I'm sure the pollinators love you!

    1. user-3565112 06/03/2015

      The garden was loaded with bees and several humming birds visited last summer. I did not see many butterflies even though there are also butterfly bush in other areas. My wife preferred red & white flowers and that's why we separated the colors. Thank you , Joe

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/03/2015

        Unfortunately butterflies seem to be pretty scarce everywhere. Glad you got bees and hummingbirds. Love them. Reading your other comments, I think your memorial garden is still beautifully informed by Japanese garden practices and has that peaceful, meditative look. I can believe that it really would have been too barren if there were only rocks and gravel: that is the most severe Japanese meditative landscape, but not the only one! :) All the best to you, Joe.

  5. beckysspring 06/03/2015

    Your hard work has really paid off... Your front entrance is a wonderful greeting to a visitor or a passerby. Carroll Gardens was always one of favorite destinations. My husband knew if that was on the map we would be out for a while. I would spend an hour or two shopping there easily. So many of the plants, shrubs and trees in my gardens are from Carroll Gardens....Really miss it. Please let Mr Summers know... Since I am from Maryland I have to ask where do you shop for your plants?

    1. user-3565112 06/03/2015

      I will mention your name to Mr. Summers the next time I see him. He consults Fri. & Sat.. at Ace Hardware on rte. 214 in Edgewater Md . and at Kingsdene nurseries in Monkton on Sundays. We bought the plants from those nurseries and they were all top quality & grew well. Joe

  6. annek 06/03/2015

    Your gardens and the sentiment behind them is so lovely and endearing. A beautiful space for beautiful memories. I love the lush and soothing look that you, your family and the designer have created.

    1. user-3565112 06/03/2015

      Thank you for your comments. My youngest granddaughter, Sophia, loves to cut flowers & take a bouquet home every time she visits. You can't put a price on the the enjoyment of seeing a little girl that happy.Thank you, Joe

      1. annek 06/05/2015

        I imagine She will always carry gardening in her heart. She's lucky to have youbas a father to cultivate that love

        1. user-3565112 06/05/2015

          She is a lot of fun & has loads of energy. She has appointed herself as my guardian angel and keeps me busy ( and usually worn out) when she is here. Good luck, Joe

  7. GrannyMay 06/03/2015

    Good for you, Joe, for liking a suggestion and then actually making it work in such a grand way in your own garden. You must be thrilled with the transformation from plain lawn to masses of flowers! Perhaps you will start a transformation in your neighbourhood.

    The memorial gardens for your wife and mother-in-law are touching and serene. Thank you for sharing.

    1. user-3565112 06/03/2015

      About 2 weeks into the front yard garden we had about 75 plants in pots scattered in the gardens & I thought what in the world have we gotten into. My daughter & granddaughter helped me with those & the others became available thru the summer & it was,nt so bad. Thank for you comments re: our memorial garden,Joe

  8. ILfarmersdaughter 06/03/2015

    Joe, I love your garden and the plants are so beautiful. I also like your birdbath surrounded by beautiful plants. I bet you have continuous blooms all summer long. What a loving dedication to your wife. Gardening is healing and comforting and you have proved that. Thank you for sharing your lovely garden.

    1. user-3565112 06/03/2015

      We are glad you enjoy the pictures of our gardens. The birdbath is setting on the stump of the Tulip tree that was removed about 5 yrs. ago. The statue was repaired & recycled from sisters trash. There seems to be something blooming mid spring thru summer. Thank you, Joe

      1. ILfarmersdaughter 06/03/2015

        Hi Joe, yes I got your reply. I had to ask yesterday how to reply too and I thought I was computer one time. Ha? I love reading all the replies. Very inspiring.

  9. wittyone 06/03/2015

    This is just beautiful. It's amazing that all this could have been accomplished in just a year. All those full and floriferous flowers and sprawling ground covers----wow!

    I must check out that issue of F.G. and see how it's done. I must have missed it or just thought that it was really undoable for just a regular person without a score of helpers planning, digging, and planting.

    It's really lovely and I'm sure that having it to enjoy and take care of is a great comfort to you.

    1. user-3565112 06/03/2015

      Thank you, We rec'd a lot of advice & design help from Mr. Summers & the fine gardening issue. My granddaughters love raking patterns in the memorial garden sand. I bought that issue on line from the Fine Gardening back issue section of their website.. joe

  10. GrannyCC 06/03/2015

    Thank you Joe for sharing your beautiful garden. I am so sorry for your loss but you and your children have created a wonderful memorial to your Wife and Mother-in-law.

    1. user-3565112 06/03/2015

      Thank you for your kind words. The garden was going to be a Zen garden but it looked too stark & we added the plants. Thank you, Joe

  11. user-3565112 06/03/2015

    I am not very computer literate & tried to respond to each of you separately. I would appreciate it if you would let me know if you received my response. Thank for your kind comments. Joe

    1. GrannyMay 06/03/2015

      Joe, it is considerate of you to try to respond to each comment. I did not get a response. If you click on "Reply" under the comment, you should see a place to respond. Once you have finished writing, click on "Post as Joe"

      1. user-3565112 06/03/2015

        Thank you for the information. I will try again. Joe

        1. GrannyMay 06/03/2015

          Well, it looks like you succeeded in responding to everyone. I'm so glad you asked for help and didn't give up. Having the ability to communicate with people who have been touched by your garden is a wonderful benefit of this garden blog.

    2. User avater
      meander_michaele 06/03/2015

      Hi, Joe, I'm in for my lunch break from gardening and just read your above request to let you know if your replies showed up. So sorry that they didn't... and that your thoughtful words are wandering about in cyberspace...if that. Good luck if you give it another go.

  12. user-3565112 06/03/2015

    Thank you. I have indeed been fortunate. My wife & I met in high school & were married for 49 years & 66 days. We have 3 great children and 6 beautiful grandchildren along with numerous friends. I was also fortunate to have a beautiful mother in law who loved gardening and could make a stick take root in that awful Georgia clay. Good luck, Joe

  13. NCYarden 06/03/2015

    What a great yard transformation. This is exquisite. So much more interesting than grass too. And learning to look on the brighter side, yeah, losing some plants is sad and disappointing, but it's a great opportunity to go to the garden centers and play with more plants. The thumb only gets greener.
    It's a pleasant tribute you've incorporated in your garden in honor of your wife and her mother. Very sweet.
    Thanks for sharing, Joe.

    1. user-3565112 06/04/2015

      Shopping for replacement plants has been interesting & we now know what will work in these gardens. The memorial garden evolved form about 100 s.f. to 400 before we started and met with Alan Summers. Thank you for your comments and good luck, Joe

  14. user-7007140 06/03/2015

    This is all so very lovely, Joe. Those we have loved are always with us and the peace gained from creating and working in your garden must feel unbelievable. No cathedral ever conveyed the calm and joy of such a place.
    Thank you for sharing not just your photos but also the emotional journey.

    1. user-3565112 06/04/2015

      You are right about gardening helping you relax & ease the tension.It is much better when family & friends are around. Things don't amount to much with out sharing it with someone. . Joe

  15. Cenepk10 06/03/2015

    So beautiful. So very beautiful.

  16. user-7007631 06/03/2015

    Your garden is so beautiful and inspiring!! Thank you for sharing your story

  17. user-7007327 06/03/2015

    Wonderful variety of plants and lovely memorial gardens. How lucky you are to have gardening children and grans.

    1. user-3565112 06/03/2015

      Thank you for your comments. I am lucky to have the family my wife & I raised & friends we made thru the years. Thank you, Joe

  18. mikehuckeba 06/04/2015

    Very Beautiful Uncle Roland! I know Aunt Sharon & Nana would've loved what you've done! You've always had a green thumb and I'm glad you have gotten recognized for it! Stephen took awesome photos too! I miss & love you!!

  19. perenniallycrazy 06/04/2015

    So touching and beautiful!

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