“Gardening tunes me into nature, holding the plants and dipping my fingers into the soil connects me to the earth’s heartbeat,‘’ says Nancy Jones, Elder Care Community Council of Franklin County, ECCC, garden volunteer at Holy Family Senior Center in Apalachicola.
Jones and her husband, Warren Hull, retired to Indian Pass from Atlanta. Jones taught art for the elementary grades in the Atlanta Public Schools. While teaching, she started a nature preserve in Atlanta called Blue Heron Nature Preserve which grew to 30 acres and when she retired from school teaching she became the executive director of the Preserve. Hull has a mechanical mind and long career of working on the bodywork of automobiles, especially rebuilding and repairing.
Jones and Hull have been a longtime girlfriend/boyfriend couple. They sold their separate houses in Atlanta and pooled available resources and built a home in Indian Pass. They got married by Elvis in Las Vegas 2 years ago and have been involved with the revitalization of the gardens at Holy Family Senior Center. They, along with other volunteers, have tended the garden, planted and pruned, watered and weeded and spread their joy in the garden. Warren donated materials and updated the irrigation system. Jones and Hull, with other volunteers, are on a schedule to stop by to check on the plants and be sure they are watered regularly. Their efforts have paid off with thriving plants, insects and butterflies.
Nancy says, “I love the Holy Family Garden. We have taken a small step towards promoting native plants and insects but it is an important step forward. The earth has big problems that need to be solved and those big problems like climate change can seem overwhelming. But small projects, such as the Holy Family Garden, that involve people and education opportunities are a positive way to chip away at those bigger problems.
Monarch butterflies are very close to being listed on the endangered species list. How could this happen? Their numbers are plummeting due to human impact in the areas of habitat loss and pesticide use. Their wintering forests in Mexico are falling to illegal logging and the western monarchs have lost their winter homes to wildfires. So much loss and tragedy for a beautiful insect we have taken for granted. But at Holy family we have a garden dedicated to them. We planted their favorite plants! Our colorful zinnias draw the butterflies down from the sky for food and our native milkweeds provide a place for egg laying and caterpillar larval food. And, our garden nourishes and sustains other pollinators too with other native plants, fresh water in saucers and a pesticide free haven to rest and refuel. Our earth is in such trouble but projects like our garden give me hope”
The gardens are open for strolling all the time at 203 Dr. Frederick Humphries Drive on the east side of the historic Holy Family Senior Center building. Stop by to enjoy the beauty that these dedicated volunteers have created.
ECCC welcomes your donations to keep the gardens thriving and you can contribute on our website: www.ecccfranklin.org. ECCC also keeps the kitchen at the Center busy with lunch available to-go for people over age 55 living in Franklin County. Come by for a healthy meal to take home. You can also specify your donation to help us continue our efforts to decrease food insecurity during the time that the Center is closed due to COVID-19. ECCC encourages everyone to stay safe and healthy by following the recommended guidelines to protect yourself and vulnerable elders. What better joy than to take care of nature and make sure everyone in our community has access to healthy food? Please join ECCC in our mission to bridge the gaps for all people over age 55 in Franklin County, we need you to get involved. Our mailing address is: PO Box 335, Eastpoint, Fl 32328 and our phone number is 850-370-0116.