Gardening Tales

Reflections Of A Gardener

June 29, 2018
Hey there friends I am sending you a great big thank you for joining me today! For those of you who might just be getting to know me it is time for me to introduce myself. I thought reflecting a bit on gardening and where I grew up would be a great place to begin. There is also an added bonus today too because we are hosting our monthly gardening party link up.


I have been blogging for 5 years at At Home With Jemma; a little bit of cooking, gardening, decorating, writing and of course a whole lot of crafting and whatever else that goes along with home, family and life.

I am the daughter of two farmers (Mom worked in the wheat and potato fields too.) I am the wife to a loving man and a blessed Mama and Grami. My family is a big part of my blog too. My readers enjoy tales of family and life. Long before blogging, long before leaving Idaho this is where my life began. Right here in this sweet red brick house is where I learned to play pinochle and garden. My passion for gardening began on the left side of the house where I planted my very first flower garden.

On the right side of the house grew this Lilac bush and it is still thriving, blooming and sending out the most delicious fragrance to this day. I've been determined to hold onto the 30 acres of the original homestead and lucky for me we went up to visit it about a month ago. Everything was so lush and all of the farm fields were bright green and oh it all smelled so very good!

This is my home today, a French country style home with lots of room for gardening and a very pesky and nervy armadillo. Have you ever tried to get rid of an's seems pretty impossible.

We have been in our new home three years this December and it has been a lot of work to get these flowers beds to thrive. Our dirt is heavy with clay and lacking in nearly every nutrient. I am a big fan of fish fertilizer and I think that is what has really made these plants take off.

Petunias were always a go-to plant growing up, they really do prefer the cooler temps but I have figured out how to trick the petunias here in Texas into thinking they live somewhere cooler. I give them lots and lots of water and I double up on miracle- gro and fish emulsion.

And of course love. Lots and lots of that and of course I do talk to my plants.

This is the other side of the house where I have Pink Hydrangeas, Japanese Maple, Drift roses, boxwood, caladiums and more petunias. I am really sold on these drift roses.

Lets walk around to the back now and I'll show you my field of flowers.

When I reflect on my roots it is easy to see why I want to have a flower farm and I am really getting closer every year. This is my field of flowers. A colorful mix of zinnias, cannas, sunflowers and herbs.

I call this photo Zinnia Love.

Sunflower in the Sky.

I planted 4 different varieties of sunflowers and they all sprouted and are thriving quite nicely.

I love making a variety of floral arrangements using the flowers from my gardens and I was so tickled when I spied these cattails on my morning walk! Aren't they sooo cute.

Hollyhock blossom heart courtesy of my daughter Rebecca.

Thank you for joining me today and may your gardens bring you joy and happiness!

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  1. Just beautiful Jemma...I bet your field of flowers with your colorful mix of blooms is buzzing with bees! I would love to be able to grow lilacs here...*sigh*. That giant sunflower head in your arrangement of zinnias makes my heart sing!

  2. Loved hearing the story about you and you have a beautiful garden.

  3. I loved this post so much, Jemma! You've told me before about your wonderful growing up years so it was sweet to see the photo. Do you think you'll ever move back some day? But to have watched the progress of your current house being built, from the day they broke ground, makes the photo of the front of your house now very special. I love those shutters, by the way! (I remember how you got some of the construction men to pose for your blog camera!)

    Lorraine is the FL flower lady but you certainly are the Texas flower lady, Jemma! This summer's flowers are gorgeous and I've made a note for RH to get some fish emulsion. He is a zinnia lover too, I'm a sunflower lover and yet somehow we put neither of them out this year for the very first time. I wonder if it's too late? That photo of the one sunflower against the Texas blue sky is poster ready, but then many of your pictures are. I look forward to seeing where your flower farm journey takes you!

  4. You are doing an amazing job with your gardens! The roses and petunias look fabulous. That's wonderful how you've held onto the 30 acres of the original homestead. I can't imagine what it would be like dealing with an armadillo. I'm imagining they like insects? You have a beautiful home and your grass looks like a golf course! Have a wonderful 4th!

  5. Good Morning Mary!
    So happy to have your join us. I love to garden just like you and my merry mix of zinnias and sunflowers make the bees and butterflies very happy!
    Happy 4th!

  6. Good Morning Dewena,

    I would love to move back to the farm, not a day goes by that I don't miss it. I also miss the West, so if we can't make it to Idaho, well Colorado is still on our list.

    Wasn't that a hoot when those worker men posed for a photo or too...I just bet that shook their heads in wonderment of exactly who they were building the house for!

    I don't think it is too late to plant some sunflower and zinnia seeds. If nothing else it will be a gardening challenge and you know us gardeners we all love to challenge the soil, and ourselves. I'd love for you to let me know if you do.

    Thank you for the fun visit!

    Happy Fourth of July to you Dewena!

  7. Good Morning Liz!

    Love sharing this garden tour with you. So much inspiration and such nice ladies too!

    Take care and Happy 4th to you!

  8. I'm in! Probably everyone's seen mine by now who will look but had to play along and join in the fun. I'm loving yours and am amazed with what you can do with Texas heat! All that color and your zinnias rock! I won't see mine till late July or into August but I love 'em!

  9. Good morning Jemma!!! How wonderful to see more of your amazing French style home and to learn even more about your surroundings. ARMADILLOS???? HELLO!!!!!!! I would have never even imagined having to deal with those. We deal with bunnies, fox, blue jays, hawks, but our cold climate wouldn't give those armadillos a chance! YIKES you have your hands full. But your are a super greenthumb and look what you've managed to do in this climate. Gorgeous. Miracle Grow is amazing, and you should see my Million Bells and Inpatiens....HUGE! Lots of love to you today!

  10. I'm so glad I get to look at your beautiful flowers! Even as I rode the mower today, I was enjoying the view. What a blessing. :)

  11. Lovely gardens, Jemma, both your manicured beds as well as the fields of flowers. Your 3 yrs of grooming has paid off immensely!

  12. Your gardening efforts have paid off. Everything looks lush and healthy. If you just have one armidillo you are lucky but you will realize you have more. They multiply rapidly. I have numerous ones every year even though my neighbor traps them. I hired a professional one year and he caught five in a week but the minute he took his netting and traps down they were back. I have given up and as long as they dig in my natural area and not my grass I can't complain. One time we saw the mama armadillo and her three babies. The babies were cute but they grow up and multiply.
    I love seeing your home growing up and am glad you have kept your land. That lilac is gorgeous.
    Your zinnia field is also glorious.

  13. Hello dear Jemma, with your green thumb, everything is beautiful. May, how you have transformed your yard.
    Love seeing the lovely flowers and those gorgeous sunflowers. Zinnia fields are beautiful. How sweet you have shared your childhood home. Fond memories are always a treasure. A pleasure joining you as an hostess on this lovely garden party. Happy 4th and a happy weekend. xo

  14. So much beautiful color! It makes my heart so happy! Just stunning! ❤️

  15. Hi Jemma,
    Love to see all your pretty blooms. Glad you get such lovely color and fullness to your plants in that hot Texas sun. Your garden looks so pretty. Your early childhood home is too cute. Glad you had family that encouraged your curiosity for gardening. It has paid off with your beautiful yard.
    Happy Friday.

  16. Jemma girl, do you ever have a green thumb? Those petunias are simply fabulous! Love your home and learning about where you grew up. Reminds me of my sweet home. I lived in the same home, built by my daddy all of my life until I married. Hubbies family are big Pinochle fans. I love it as well now. Hubbies dad fell and is in a rehab for a few weeks. Last night him, our youngest daughter, and his brother went there and played pinochle with him. My parents game was Canasta. :) Made me laugh that your pesky garden pet is an Armadillo. So glad you decided to host with us!

  17. JEMMA! Good morning to ya! We are having a HEAT wave here and I'm thinking of how you handle this type of weather. I had to water twice yesterday and I'm thinking that today will be the same. Goodness, as a native Californian living in Boston and Minneapolis for the last 31 years, I forgot how to handle the heat!

    Dearest heart, I want to thank you for taking the time to come and read and listen to my blog post. It means so much to me, as I know it means a lot to all of you who continue to blog. May our creative dreams be God's powerful tool in this world that is muddled with questions and often times, the wrong responses. Be well, (you know how to stay cool), and enjoy those darling grands of yours!

  18. Great garden,such beauty and happiness!Those lilacs are magnificent!Thanks for hosting!

  19. Your gardens have blossomed beautifully in such a short time living there. You definitely have the green thumb and loving touch. Everything is beautiful!

  20. The picture of the first red brick home reminds me so much of a house my grandparents rented in for a number of years. I was about six years old at the time but I remember it well. - Margy

  21. Beautiful Jemma! I grow zinnias and sunflowers, they say summer to me! We have armadillos, and they are a pain with their holes everywhere! Thanks for hosting such a lovely party!

  22. Hi Jemma - I'm a little slow getting around to visit your gardens, but I'm so happy I made it. What a treat! I think I need a cutting garden like your field of flowers. Happy gardening!

  23. I grew up on a ranch outside of Houston and remember how hard it was for my mother to have flower gardens with the Texas heat and lack of rain. You definitely have a green thumb and your beautiful gardens are proof of that. Zinnias are one of my favorite summer flower...their bright colors just make you smile.

  24. Since our deck is primarily a dining space, I like to have flowers on the dining table. In the past, I’ve just placed a pair of potted plants on either side of the umbrella on the table and called it done. However, because the two pots take up a lot of valuable real estate on our relatively small table, I end up removing them when we eat– which kind of defeats the purpose. When I investigated alternatives, I could only find round ready-made umbrella tabletop planters. Because I wanted a long narrow planter, I decided to create my own rectangular planter. For this project, I started with a window box that wouldn’t take up too much space and could remain on the table all the time.


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