Garden Photo of the Day

A Garden to Learn From

Today, Jennifer James is sharing her low-cost, educational garden with us.

I live in Lafayette, La. With our hot summers, I had an above-ground pool. When no one was using it anymore and it became a hassle to keep up, I tore down the deck and reused the wood to make garden boxes. Everything I used was repurposed. The compost came from a local compost facility—for free! I spent $200 on some good topsoil. My seeds were given to me from family and friends.

I have an early learning childcare program in my house, so of course, we made it a learning experience! The children helped to plant the seeds and care for the vegetables and herbs. Their favorite part was running out to the garden to find vegetables ready to be picked and eaten fresh off the plant! We planted tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, pumpkin (which took off in the spring but died during our hot summer), corn, squash, and zucchini.

We planted everything from seed so we could learn patience?. There were lots of flowers, as we love all the insects and birds flying around us! These are giant zinnias (Zinnia elegans, annual).

It’s early spring in this photo, and everything is growing happily. We have two arches in the playground, one entering into the garden and one entering into the playground area.

A little later in the spring, crocosmias (Crocosmia sp., Zones 6–9) were blooming beautifully.

Concord grapes have been trained to grow around our garage. This year we made jelly, with a total of seven jars. The kiddies did not like it as much as I did because the color was not the usual bright purple. My family and I enjoyed it very much! I used my juicer, and it was so simple.

A locust (cicada) on the live oak tree. I love this picture, as the resurrection fern (Pleopeltis polypodioides, Zones 6–9) in the background was just resurrected with a previous day’s rain. Resurrection fern is called that because if it gets dry, it turns brown and looks dead, but when rains return, the dead-looking fronds turn green again, seemingly resurrecting from the dead!

Best bananas ever!

Cucumbers, green beans, snap peas, sunflowers, and lots of marigold to help with the unwanted insects. Everything is in full swing in the summer!


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View Comments


  1. paiya 12/18/2018

    Jennifer, your garden gives wonderful educational , and eating, experiences to the children for whom you care!

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/18/2018

    Recycling/re-purposing/reusing is the way to go in my opinion. Love the zinnias. A great flower for kids to grow since it can handle the heat & humidity & keep on going.

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 12/18/2018

    Jennifer, you sound like a real treasure of an early education teacher. I'll bet there are some very grateful parents who are so thankful to have found you for their children. Yay for all your projects and your ingenuity in recycling materials so they can continue to have a useful life.

  4. Cenepk10 12/18/2018

    What a beautiful place to learn ! Nice job !

  5. btucker9675 12/18/2018

    Terrific! The kids must really love this!

  6. cheryl_c 12/18/2018

    Jennifer, you have created and cultivated not only a wonderful garden, but a love for gardens and for fresh vegetables in all the children who are lucky enough to be part of your early education experience! Well done, teacher!

  7. Vazalode 01/10/2020

    Great job, I like this kind of gardens. I even want to do my own essay writing using about my garden. I hope to post this soon.

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