Surprise Persimmon

Don’t you love surprises?

Earlier this week, I was looking out our kitchen window, which faces the garden and tree line behind our house and saw what appeared to be a pair of orange eyes staring at me. 

Maybe it’s just my wild imagination, or the fact that Halloween (the best holiday of the year) is upon us, but it seriously gave me a spook!

There’s an owl that frequents our backyard that we’ve actually seen, so my wild imagination wondered if somehow it had gone Bunnicula on us. Turns out, the two orange “eyes” were actually persimmons!

Bunnicula Strikes Again! eBook by James Howe - 9781442451940 | Rakuten Kobo  United States

For everyone who needed a throwback to 4th grade Language Arts

On closer inspection, I figured out that we have TWO young persimmon trees along the tree line that I’ve never noticed before. I don’t know if this is just the first year that they’ve fruited or if I’m just oblivious, but I’ve taken this as a huge win for the Jubilee Garden! Things that I didn’t plant or care for just doing their thang. Proof again that God is good, He is faithful, and He always provides (for both us and all the little critters)!

Since there are only a few fruits on these trees (like less than five per tree), I’m assuming that they’re on the order of 10 years old. Most fruit trees take, on average, five years before they begin to produce fruit, and the first few harvests are pretty wimpy. But the American Persimmon (I’m taking a stab in the dark that they’re not the Oriental variety) is a stubborn little fella  and can take 10-15 years to fruit. It’s a good thing I didn’t plant these, because I don’t know if I have that kind of patience. Once they get going, though, it’s hard to get them to stop.

In fact, the American Persimmon has no known insect pests or disease problems. Just another reason why wild natives are awesome! Plus they’re food for birds and other garden friends.

I’ve found a few other wild persimmons in the neighborhood, and had a horrible experience trying to eat the fruit. I don’t know if it was just that the fruit wasn’t ready yet or those particular trees got funk-ified somehow, but the fruit tasted like I was eating sidewalk chalk. Couldn’t get that furry taste out of my mouth for several hours – yuck! According to the NCSU Extension website, the fruits of American Persimmon are supposed to be really sweet when ripe, so maybe I’ll give it another go this year. But with much, much smaller test bites!

Can you spot the Persimmons?


Leave a comment

Lessons Learned So Far from the Jubilee Garden (+ Pictures!)

So far, the Jubilee garden has been going well! 

Here are a few lessons I’ve learned this growing season:

  1. I really miss the joy of planting and seeing things sprout and grow.  So much so, that I found myself at our local nursery this week buying herbs and marigolds to fill the pots on our deck. Just the deck. Yep! At least that’s how I’m justifying it to myself.
  2. I should have gone hardcore on the regenerative pruning. The bushes out front could have been cut WAY closer to the ground to promote new growth. Now I have weird sticks with spiky new growth on them. Check out the pictures below to see what I mean. I was so nervous about the possibility of killing the shrubs that I chickened out. I might try to correct this later in the season as the new growth fills in.
  3. I was pleasantly surprised by our beet harvest this year! Nice, big beets (golden and maybe detroit dark red or bulls blood – can’t remember which ones I planted). I love roasted beets – they’re sweet like candy. Will definitely be planting more of these in the future.
  4. I planted WAY too many brassicas last fall. The flowers were beautiful when they bolted this spring, but we just don’t eat enough broccoli, cauliflower, or brussels sprouts to justify how much I planted. We got exactly zero cabbages out of the many I planted. 
  5. Fennel is a magnet for swallowtail caterpillars – keep this around if you like pollinators.
  6. Radish seed pods are edible and add a nice crunch to salads.
  7. Why did I plant rutabaga? Who even eats rutabaga? Did I think I would suddenly have an affinity for them if I grew them?
  8. Fava beans are where it’s at. You get a huge bang for your buck when you plant these – huge beans with plentiful pods if you keep picking them. Definitely be sure to stake them/support them, though, or you’ll end up with a floppy mess like mine.
  9. Accept the generosity of fellow gardeners. I’ve already received amazing garden goodies from thoughtful friends and neighbors who knew I was taking a break this season. Thank you Alyson & Natalie!
  10. Volunteer plants are still coming up! I’ve found surprise potatoes, strawberry spinach, sunflowers, and swiss chard. Can’t wait to see what else pops up!
  11. Some of my garden experiments look like they’re paying off – some of the fig and lavender cuttings are viable!

Overall, I’m still thankful that I’m taking a break from my typical garden schedule this year. I get to see my little pole beans (the girls) growing and I love that so much is continuing on its own without my intervention. 

Here are some of the latest garden photos – enjoy!


RutabagaRadish seed pods - they're edible!Beets about to flowerUFO - haven't identified this moth yetBeet harvestGolden beetSliced beets ready for roastingOur local greenhouseEmpress Wu hostas (giant!) and a surprise sunflowerMore pruning resultsPruning resultsHerb haul + marigolds


Coming up:

Sunday: Knit Together – Psalm 139

Leave a comment

Update and Pictures from Our Jubilee Garden

Well, we’re heading into prime gardening season. Here in NC, we’re just two weeks away from the average last frost date (Zone 7B is April 15th). Normally, I’d be prepping my planting beds and getting amped to make a trip or two to some of my favorite local nurseries, but this year, I’m preparing for a baby, instead.

It’s hard to not plant things! 

I went out into the garden today to get a feel for how things are going. With only minimal intervention (weeding, pruning, and one or two experiments) from me, there’s already so much that the garden is producing on its own and so much to be thankful for!

I hope you enjoy this early Spring tour of the Jubilee Garden! Scroll over pictures for the captions.



Coming up: 


Sunday: Happy Easter!

Next Wednesday: Top 5 Herbs You Should Be Growing This Year


Leave a comment

2021: The Jubilant Garden

Hi! I’m glad you’re here! Welcome to The Jubilant Gardener blog. I’m Stephanie – AKA the Jubilant Gardener. I’m an avid gardener, lover of all things meme-related, and Christ-follower. My goal with this blog is to interject some gardening knowledge, a good laugh, and little bit of Jesus into your week. But more on that later! First, let’s talk a little bit about why I’m starting this blog.

Last year was a mess, wasn’t it? I think we can all safely say that 2020 was probably a low point in most of our lives. Who would have thought we’d ever see this in our lifetimes? A raging pandemic, civil unrest, a run on toilet paper. You know life has hit an all-time low when you start Googling bidets (though to be fair, I’ve tried one before and it wasn’t half bad!). Luckily for us, the good people at Charmin had the foresight of making mega rolls – a true miracle if ever there was one. A double-miracle is this wonderfully seductive pose of Lionel Richie and his favorite TP, summing up the struggle of the past year:

Funny Toilet Paper Shortage Memes - Funtastic Life

But that’s not the way 2021 is going to go. I’m calling it… this is the YEAR OF JUBILEE!

I’m not talking about Queen Elizabeth II (though, fun fact, her Platinum Jubilee is scheduled for 2022. Mark your calendars!). I’m talking about a year of good things in Biblical proportions. Why not? Last year was a year of horrible things IN BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS. Let’s not forget the time hurricanes had to be named using the Greek alphabet BECAUSE WE HAD SO MANY STORMS WE RAN OUT OF LETTERS IN THE ALPHABET. 

hurricane Memes & GIFs - Imgflip

Yes, people. This is the Year of Jubilee. 

A Jubilee is:

    1. a special anniversary of an event, especially one celebrating twenty-five or fifty years of a reign or activity.

Also, it’s:

    1. (of desserts) flambé.

Desserts? A celebration? Both great in my book.


Beyond our cultural understanding of Jubilee, there’s also the original Biblical Jubilee, which is:

    1. The 50th year at the end of 7 cycles of 7 years.
    2. A Sabbath year, set apart as holy
    3. A year of no planting, no storing of harvests, no grape gathering (random, am I right?)
    4. A year of eating whatever the land produces on its own
    5. A year of returning to the land that belonged to your ancestors
    6. A year of resetting property rights and deeds
    7. A year of redeeming the poor and enslaved

Interestingly, the Bible cites these results if we observe the Jubilee:

    1. Living securely in the land (yay!)
    2. A huge yield of crops (double yay!)
    3. Eating our fill (I think I can really get behind this)
    4. A blessing in the 6th year leading up to the 7th year (Jubilee year) to have enough food for THREE YEARS (say WHAT?!)

I don’t know about you, but I could really use a Sabbath year right about now. My soul needs the rest and the joy of just being. Not striving.

And that’s why I’m also giving our amazingly productive garden a Jubilee year, too. No planting, just living off the abundance and letting the land rest. There are treasures to be found in the wild garden – plants that make their way through this harsh world on their own, mini-ecosystems that need absolutely no intervention from us to thrive (in fact, probably do better without us!), and mysteries and miracles in the natural world for us to discover. So that’s what I plan to share with you through this blog – that the untended garden has lessons for all of us, both practically and spiritually. We just have to sit still long enough to look for them.

Peppered in with this year’s wild garden observations, I’ll share photos, tutorials, tips, tricks, LOTS of failures, and even some successes from my garden (every Wednesday) and devotionals (every Sunday). No matter your background with gardening or faith, there’s a place for you here. I hope you’ll join in with me as we explore what it means to be a Jubilant Gardener!


Coming up on Wednesday: Where to Start? Nursery Transplants vs Direct Sowing vs Indoor Seed Starting

And Next Sunday: How to Achieve Your Goals This Year + My Goals for 2021


Leave a comment