Barbara Hadley Smith, The Garden Club of Frankfort

Like so many of us, Jill Robinson enjoys planting flowers around her house, but she does not consider herself an expert gardener.

“I experiment,” Jill said. “If I see something I really like, I get it and plant it in the yard,” she said. “If it doesn’t do well, I move it to another spot. I have never taken a class on gardening, although I do have some friends who are master gardeners and I ask them for advice.”

The property surrounding her house, once dirt and grass, has been landscaped with imagination. In the front, gravel pathways and wooden planters are exclamation points to a variety of colorful blooms. In the backyard, blooming flowers surround a sparkling pond and waterfall containing frogs, fish and lily pads.

Jill explained that as a kid growing up in New Jersey, she was fascinated by a pond in a neighbor’s yard.

“That pond really made an impression on me,” she said. “I went by it all of the time because I just loved it. I remember it had frogs in it.”

Evenings often find Jill Robinson and her friends sitting around the firepit listening to the ripples of the waterfall. The firepit was purchased from Kentucky Correctional Industry. (Photo submitted)

Jill explained that she really got inspired to start gardening after her first campaign for Franklin County Magistrate — which she won.

“While going door to door during that campaign, I saw so many nice gardens, some were quite elaborate,” she said. “The day after the primary election, I went out in my backyard and started digging a hole. A friend of mine, Bill Smith who was a former firefighter and policeman, came by and asked me what I was doing. When I told him I was digging a pond, he offered to do it for me. That was my first pond.

“There is a big rock ledge in the middle of the yard, so my pond is deep on both ends and shallow in the middle where the ledge is,” Jill remembered.

After about 20 years, the pond deteriorated and Jill decided she needed to replace it. She hired Larry Moore of Xstream Aquatics in Danville to design and construct the new pond.

“He asked me if I would like to have a waterfall, and I said sure,” Jill said.

When the water in the pond needs to be supplemented, Jill has two rain barrels that collect water from her gutters, which is then fed through hoses to the pond.

Originally, Jill planted day lilies around the pond, but they began to spread and overpower the water feature and would bloom only briefly each season, so she dug them up and replaced them with a variety of perennials.

“It has been a great season for the flowers because of all the rain we have had,” Jill said. “Of course, the rain has nourished the weeds too.”

Now, the blooms of cone flowers, daisies, black-eyed Susans and hibiscus attract birds, bees and butterflies and brighten the backyard all summer long. Jill enjoys it all while sitting on her screened back porch.

Handmade wood containers and gravel paths add dimension to the garden in front of Jill Robinson’s house. The screened front porch is a relaxing place to visit with friends. (Photo submitted)
Gerber daisies, which are annual plants, surprised the homeowner by blooming a second year this spring. The hibiscus plants have really blossomed with the abundant rainfall. (Photo submitted)
A variety of roses bloom along the driveway at Jill Robinson’s home. (Photo submitted)
The back porch looks out on the pond surrounded by a variety of perennials. The fire pit in the center of the patio was purhased from Kentucky Correctional Industries. Beyond it, an iron gazebo protects a grill during inclement weather. (Photo submitted)
With the wood fence as a backdrop, colorful perennials surround the pond and waterfall. The pond has been home to gold fish, frogs and the floating lily pads. There were koi fish in the pond, but the raccoons got them. (Photo submitted)
Hibiscus are planted along the side of the garage because their blooms are so large and showy. (Photo submitted)