Jim's Summer Garden in a Service Station

poppies at Jim's Station

My local gas station was owned for many years by an avid gardener, my friend, Jim. We were so fortunate to have him as the caretaker of that prominent corner of town!

Gardener/Business Owner, Jim

Jim, is a firm believer in sustainable practices, did not operate a typical run of the mill gas station:
  • he  installed 90 solar panels on his canopy roof (over the pumps),
  • he had a compost pile using some of the coffee grounds that he generated with all the coffee he sells every morning to the NYC commuters,
  • he installed  ethanol pumps for those who want  alternative fuel

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

The flower garden greeted  commuters in the morning as they rushed past his corner on the way to the train and welcomed them home in the evening.

Grasses, butterfly bush, milkweed, sunflowers, Joe Pye weed, cockscomb and more stood sentinel in front of the station, brightening up what might have been a dreary, utilitarian space.

Sunflower Greetings

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

He started the seed in ahome made greenhouse and then, after he planted the seedlings,  let 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'....

Tigers Eye Sumac planted by Jim


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

  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.

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


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