Creating harmony, simplicity and peace in the landscape......

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.

Gardening is an instrument of grace. "

May Sarton
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jim's Summer Garden in a Service Station

poppies at Jim's Station

The local Gulf service station in my town is just uphill from the Metronorth train station and is located at one of our official 'gateway' intersections. How fortunate we are that Jim owns this particular fueling station!

Gardener/Business Owner, Jim


Jim, being an inveterate gardener and a firm believer in sustainable practices, does not operate a typical run of the mill gas station:
  • he has installed 90 solar panels on his canopy roof (over the pumps),

  • he has a compost pile using some of the coffee grounds that he generates with all the coffee he sells every morning to the NYC commuters,

  • he installed new ethanol pumps for those who seek an alternative fuel

  • and he has an over-the-top flower garden!
Cockscomb can draw your eye to a sign!

The flower garden surrounds the entire station. It greets commuters in the morning as they rush past his corner on the way to the train and welcomes them home in the evening. Grasses, butterfly bush, milkweed, sunflowers, Joe Pye weed, cockscomb and more stand sentinel in front of the station, brightening up what might be a dreary, utilitarian space.

Sunflower Greetings

Jim grows all his flowers from seed.  He loves Select Seeds of Union, CT (their tagline: heirloom treasures for modern gardens)

He starts the seed in a modest, home made greenhouse and then, after he plants the seedlings,  lets the plants seed themselves...that is how a few plants have grown into large swaths...


Poppies, coreopsis, achillea, bachelor's buttons, marigolds and cosmos all vie for attention.


In addition to the meadow flowers, Jim has also planted more exotic flowers such as the alluring Hibiscus moscheutos ( I wrote a blog post about this particular flower) . 

Perennial Hibiscus and Globe Thistle

He also has several varieties of one of my favorite flowers - Amaranthus. 





And to top it off, since Jim sells ethanol in addition to gas, he has planted a display of CORN plants to illustrate where ethanol comes from.

Corn and Amaranth

Wouldn't it be great if other service station owners took it upon themselves to create beautiful and inspiring gardens for all of us to enjoy? You could argue that gas stations are almost like public spaces and should be more civic minded in the operation of their business....Exxon, Shell are you listening? 

Like Jim's favorite phrase, it is time for all of us to 'RETHINK REFUELING'....

Yellow Laceleaf Sambucus at Jim's

3 comments:

  1. Wow, that's definitely not the typical gas station, is it? :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cool. Neat. Or newer word for hip.

    Reminds me of the gardens made by station masters in 19th century England--a tradition which I think continued into the 20th C, don't know. They had contests.

    He has a nice group of plants for the circumstance.

    ReplyDelete
  3. they had contests? train station masters? what a great idea! someone talk to the Gulf, Shell P.R. people about this....

    ReplyDelete

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