From Nothing to Everything: A Garden Story 5


I think we all have those people we follow on social media, that we know we’d really click with in real life.  For me, Jill is one of those. I’ve been following her on Instagram for about a year now and there’s no doubt what a wonderful lady she is. Her photos are exceptionally incredible, and yet she writes in such a way, that her real life shines through, reassuring me that she’s a normal person, too. Today we get to hear her garden story. Her yard began with nothing….now look at it! We are blessed to have Jill here with us today. Please welcome her well! -AngelaIMG_9795When my husband and I bought our first house in 2003, we acquired beautiful gardens and a greenhouse that was attached to the house, put there by the previous owners who were master gardeners and orchid growers. I had big shoes to fill and didn’t know a thing about gardening, but I did my best.

Over the next several years we moved several times, and I nurtured my gardening skills by planting, weeding and tending all sorts of  flowers and plants in various climates and gardening zones. The biggest problem was that we kept moving, and I never got to really enjoy the fruits of my efforts. Eventually we moved to the pacific northwest where gardening and growing seems to happen effortlessly.IMG_9395When we bought our current house 6 years ago, it was completely void of any gardens. In fact, the front yard landscaping was so bad and overgrown that we ripped out most of what was there. I had no vision for what I wanted my backyard garden to look like, I just knew it needed something, and so I headed to the nearest garden center and bought as many half price plants that I could fit into my car.  The following summer I asked my husband for raised garden boxes so I could start planting vegetables. It was fun and successful so I asked my husband for more and he dutifully built me two more boxes.DSC04897

I wish I could say that I carefully planned and designed my garden, but really I just crave beauty and have slowly added to what already exists. We live in a neighborhood, and our yard isn’t large by any means, but our property sits right next to a pond which is full of wildlife, and that has added a lot to our garden.

We truly do have a lot of fun in our backyard garden, delighting in the wonderful things that happen there. As homeschoolers, our backyard has served us well in terms of very practical and hands on learning opportunities. Earlier this year I had a horrible aphid problem on my lupines, and my oldest daughter suggested we buy live ladybugs to battle the aphids. We did and it worked, not to mention it was fun to watch nature do its thing. Last week our praying mantis egg sac hatched (we buy one every year), and again, it was fun to watch the babies emerge and for the rest of the summer we’ll do a little happy dance each time we find one enjoying our garden. Just this morning my youngest daughter came inside and said, “Mom, I just love your raspberries. I love that I can eat a snack while I’m outside playing. I hope you don’t mind that I ate a bunch.”

DSC04861My garden serves so many purposes, and it seems that each year I discover new ways that it nurtures me. I’m learning that gardening is an act of worship that brings me closer to my Creator. I love everything about it. I love planting a seed, watering it and then waiting expectantly for signs of life and growth. I love watching the plants grow and get bigger every day. I love seeing the flowers develop blooms that open and then display their beauty. I love snipping fresh herbs to add to meals and popping fresh strawberries and raspberries into my mouth. I love going to the backyard to gather vegetables for dinner or lettuce for a salad. I love finding frogs, ladybugs, praying mantis and other creatures within the plants and flowers of my garden. I love watching the hummingbirds visit the flowers. And I love sharing my garden with anyone who comes to visit, so if you are in my neighborhood, please stop by.jillfolleyJill is a wife and homeschooling mama to two girls. She is also a violinist and advocate for Compassion International. Jill loves the outdoors, finding beauty in everything, gardening, reading, running and traveling. You can find Jill on her daily Instagram feed or at her blog Daily Bread.

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About Angela Strand

Angela is a wife, mama to three little ones and a lifelong Washington State resident. Besides staying home with her kids, she loves serving on her church's MOPS team, hiking with her girlfriends, gardening, writing, reading and taking photos.


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5 thoughts on “From Nothing to Everything: A Garden Story

  • Erin

    I’m a fellow Pacific Northwesterner and I can totally relate to feeling so much more connected with Creation when I garden. I also love that you homeschool – would LOVE to hear more about your experience homeschooling, as it’s something I’m thinking about when my girls are school-age!

    • Jill Foley

      I won’t lie to you….homeschooling isn’t very glamorous, but it is rewarding! I often think of homeschooling in terms of gardening too…planting seeds, watering and tending to the garden and an eventual harvest. Day to day you might not see much fruit, but when you step back at the end of the year you see how much growth has taken place. And each year you cam add to your garden of knowledge. Also…each child is a different plant and has different needs…more water / less sun / pruning, etc.

      I write a bit about our homeschool journey on my blog.