Garden Photo of the Day

Parking Pad to Garden

A gravel garden through the seasons

The gravel garden in March, with plants just starting to wake up.

Tim Vojt sent in a series of photos showing his Ohio gravel garden through different seasons. He writes:

I was inspired by Beth Chatto’s gravel garden book to see what would grow in the neglected gravel parking pad behind my 1911 home. It had accumulated a weedy layer of sod well before we bought the house, so I stripped that off, cleaned it up, added stones and the sandstone column, and started planting. I’m constantly changing it up according to my whims and what does poorly or is over-exuberant.

What a great way to turn a difficult spot into a beautiful garden!

In April, the plants are beginning to grow and fill in.
The same garden in May wreathed in flowers.
Photographed in July – the dog days of summer aren’t slowing these tough, drought tolerant plants down!
Even under snow, a few plants poke through promising of warmer days to come.


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View Comments


  1. bons 01/31/2018

    I've followed GPOD for years. Why can't I see the comments?

    1. user-1020932 01/31/2018

      comments were disabled while transitioning to the new website

      1. bons 02/01/2018

        Thank you, Jeff! No problems accessing the comments this morning, and I really like the look of the updated website.
        Tim, your gravel garden through the seasons is very cool, and I love that you positioned it for optimum viewing from inside your home!

        1. User avater
          Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

          Many thanks!

  2. perenniallycrazy 01/31/2018

    Wonderful transformation Tim. It appears that garden your transformation has brought you "peace and ease" - as what the Chinese characters on your stone column say. I can see it will continually transform in the future just like your evolution as a gardener and look forward to seeing more photos as the years go by. Can't wait till tomorrow.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

      Thanks, Cherry and the reminder of the character translation is always welcome. I think Lillian translated it for me as well, but I don't have it committed to memory. I had ignorantly thought they were Japanese and the first two characters seemed to mean peaceful but I couldn't find the third, so I just called it 'jellyfish'.
      I'm going to add a second small crevice section to the garden in the spring, adjacent to the new one I put in last year.
      PS: the system just slapped my hand and told me to slow down; I was posting comments too quickly.

    2. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 02/01/2018

      Yikes, I’ve become a number instead of Linda on Whidbey?
      Anyway, thanks, Cherry for the translation. I was just going to ask Tim , which, apparently wouldn’t have gotten me the right answer.

      1. perenniallycrazy 02/01/2018

        You're welcome Linda. Hope you can change your name to the correct one on your account profile.

  3. user-1020932 01/31/2018

    Nice to see this and glad I caught it tonight rather than morning. It all looks super as always,,,,,,,,,,,you do know that this gravel garden has cost me a lot of money tracking down and buying plants like yours.

    1. user-1020932 01/31/2018

      hmmm, with the new website I am tntreeman again from years ago

      1. Chris_N 02/01/2018

        And I'm MadTreefrog. I tried to change back to ChrisN but it says someone already has that screenname!

    2. perenniallycrazy 01/31/2018

      Agree that Tim is a VERY BAD influence!

  4. user-1020932 01/31/2018

    anyway, it's always a pleasure to see your garden.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

      Looks like you've hacked your account. I think I'm going to leave the old moniker on my account. I had forgotten all about it.
      Happy to make other gardeners spend money. That way I don't feel so all alone!

      1. perenniallycrazy 02/01/2018


  5. User avater
    Kevin_PaGardener 02/01/2018

    Now that we are not using Disqus, I noticed I had to change my FG screen name, or no-one would know who I am.

    Well, Tim, your garden is the leadoff garden on the new FG website. I love seeing your gravel garden through the seasons. I need to do that with my garden (take photos from the same location throughout the year). I love your plant choices, especially the Mangave 'Chocolate Chip'. My 'Cherry Chocolate Chip' is growing well in the basement under lights for the winter (it's now about 2 feet across). Thanks for getting me excited about growing it.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

      I really like the look of this new format. It' s clean and Joseph made up some nice, flowery captions for the photos. I just named them by date... :)
      Glad to hear your Manfreda is doing well. They are such cool plants and I'm looking for other hardy varieties to try. I'm also trying to break the container Agave habit and replace them with Mangaves. There are so many now and very cool, and they seem to tolerate container life in wet, humid summers.
      I'm anxious to see what your garden is doing this spring.

    2. perenniallycrazy 02/01/2018

      What was your former screen name Kevin?

      1. User avater
        Kevin_PaGardener 02/01/2018

        My FG account screen name was kevinjayhawk, but I noticed if I go back on old GPOD posts, I have become a number with no screen name. When I started posting on GPOD, I just used Kevin Kelly.

  6. user-7007960 02/01/2018

    Creative, very interesting!

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

      Thanks. It's a lot of fun to see what will grow.

  7. user-3565112 02/01/2018

    Good morning Tim, I was sure you had run out of space but then you (apparently) jump over the fence into a whole new world & garden experience. It looks terrific in all seasons. The carved stone looks familiar ,Have you posted a photo of this area before ? Your imagination seems Boundless, good luck, Joe

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

      Good morning, Joe. Thanks for the nice comment. You've definitely seen the carved stone before. In fact, with this new format there is a section below these comments called Related Articles. There are two previous posts of this garden. The one that says READERS PHOTOS is actually the first batch of photos I sent to GPOD and it shows how the gravel garden was created. :)

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 02/01/2018

        Thanks for pointing out the additional opportunities below to see some of your previous GPOD sharings. I especially appreciate all the plant identifications in the first one titled Surprises Amongst the Gravel.

  8. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/01/2018

    Good morning, Tim. I love how you have given this niche area such great 4 season interest. The inclusion of the column was pure inspiration and the peek a boo effect in the snow of the spiky plant tips and their seed stalks provide continued architectural interest. Is your gravel garden visible from looking out through a window? Seems like you deserve to view it on a cold winter day.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

      Good morning, Michaela. You know, I actually angled that sandstone column so that it faces our kitchen window and the rest of the garden is designed off that angle so that the best view is from that window. :)

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 02/01/2018

        Good planning...sometimes it best not to leave everything to serendipity.

  9. NCYarden 02/01/2018

    Good Morning, Tim. Fun to have a space that can bear a gardener's whim so readily. I wonder how it will look this year. Having had the pleasure of seeing this unique space in person, I can only begin to imagine what will be coming up next, especially when I also see the seasonal orders you sometimes post. Looking forward to my next visit.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

      It definitely is a garden that readily bends to my whims and moodiness! :)

  10. toweringpines 02/01/2018

    Nice to have comments back and good to see gardens in all 4 seasons.

  11. Chris_N 02/01/2018

    Great to see your gravel garden again, Tim. Popped back to your first photos on GPOD. It's fun to see changes over the years.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

      Thanks. I've ripped a lot of more aggressive stuff over the years to make room for new things to try. I'm really anxious for spring to see what survives.

  12. sheila_schultz 02/01/2018

    I love your gravel garden Tim. Everytime I think I've seen all the plants I find another one to drool over!
    I'm still quite green with envy over your mangave, it's quite the beauty. How many do you have now?

  13. sheila_schultz 02/01/2018

    I just went back to check out Surprises Amongst Gravel and was reminded of that gorgeous beauty, Buckiniczia cabulica. I'm overjoyed it has been hardy, geez I adore that little plant!

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

      Thanks, Sheila. I've two Manfreda in the garden and four Mangave in containers. That Bukiniczia is a plant that thrives in Colorado. It's sort of sad that it's biennial. All of my seedlings from the first three plants died over the summer except for one, that isn't looking too good. I'm hoping it survives to set seed, but I intend to buy more to hedge my bets.

  14. Cenepk10 02/01/2018

    Beautiful, Tim ! Absolutely love seeing your art !!! I can wait to see the front again too

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

      You've always been so kind. I *really* can't wait to see the front garden, too, as well as the rest of my brown and muddy yard!

  15. cheryl_c 02/01/2018

    Well, my prior post didn't seem to make it, so I'll try again. I've reset my user name (it wouldn't take my prior one either, despite recognizing me in the log-in). Tim, again, as always, your garden is inspiring to those of us who are new to gravel gardening and niche gardening - thanks for a shot of inspiration on this first day of February, with promises of plummeting temperatures.
    Joseph: I'm still trying to figure out the pluses and minuses of the new site - I, too, like the cleaness of the look, but am finding I have to keep logging back in to view comments - even when I leave the window open to go to another window, when I come back, I need to re-enter the log in. Then the whole page will re-load - a problem for those of us with little broadband width. Without Disqus, will we be advised when somebody has replied to us? Or do we need to just keep checking back?

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

      I was just thinking the same thing about notification of comment replies and wrote to Steve Aitken to see if that will be added. Thanks for your kind words.

    2. SteveA 02/01/2018

      Hi Cheryl,

      The ability to be notified about comments has been put on the list of fixes. Apparently there are other bugs more important to the site at the moment. If you -- or anyone -- has suggestions, please send them to me at [email protected] or use the feedback button which appears at the bottom of the screen (for now)

  16. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 02/01/2018

    Good morning, Tim. What a great use of a former parking area. Do you have a lane running behind your home where this is planted or is it on the house side of the fence? I hope it’s the latter since such a pretty garden should be seen by you. We have a spot in our yard that used to be a bocce court so it’s very sandy and you’ve given me some inspiration for what we can do with it. Thanks, my husband will be delighted? Linda O’Connell

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

      Ooh, a new project. I've read that lots of alpine and rock garden plants grow well in sand. Our back yard is shallow and has an ugly alley that runs behind it. Looking at these photos, our house is basically at your view; to the left of the gravel garden (sort of) is still a gravel parking pad off the alley we use. The garden is quite easy to see from the house.

  17. wittyone 02/01/2018

    This is just beautiful----so calm and well thought out. It's surprising (to me, at least) how all these plants can make it with just 6 inches of soil above all that gravel. But often adequate drainage is just what's needed.

    How long has this transformation taken?

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

      I'm always surprised at what grows and what doesn't meet my expectations. I created the garden in 2008.

  18. judfor 02/01/2018

    This is so wonderful! Who would have thought. Only a gardener. I am looking for nice garden art like the column. Does anyone have any ideas.

  19. schatzi 02/01/2018

    Beautiful new format. I'm glad comments are back because this community is what really makes this site so appealing. Beautiful photos, Tim. The snow scene is especially striking.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

      Thanks. We had a couple of beautiful snows this year.

  20. btucker9675 02/01/2018

    What a fantastic transformation - love this gravel garden!

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

      Thanks. I think I change it more than any other part of my garden: a great experiment.

  21. user-7003263 02/01/2018

    Truly unique garden, definitely peaceful and calm. Thanks for sharing.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

      Many thanks.

  22. Meelianthus 02/01/2018

    Always enjoy your gardens Tim and remember well your little gravel garden with all of the interesting succulents. What a beautiful garden you turned that spot into, you must receive a lot of sun there. I am also anxious to see your fab front garden this summer - wonder what plans you have for it? and I know how anxious you (and all of us) are to get out into the dirt. Thank you.

  23. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/01/2018

    That gravel garden certainly gets a lot of sun, although the side closest to the neighbor's yard does start to get shade in the afternoon from trees. One side of my front garden saw a few changes last year and needs to fill in; the other has never really worked quite as well, but I've yet to catch a vision for what I want to do. Maybe this will be the summer inspiration strikes!

  24. [email protected] 02/01/2018

    Love the gravel, and now I am pondering where I can put something similar.
    Curious to see whether I come up as Pat from Maple Valley or a number...

  25. JoannaAtGinghamGardens 02/02/2018

    Wow, Tim, you've done well in a difficult spot. It's really pretty!

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