Review: We Are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines and Kids

Title: We Are the Gardeners
Author: Joanna Gaines and Kids
Illustrator: Julianna Swaney
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Picture Book
Pages: 40
ISBN: 1400314224
Source: Library/Purchased

Synopsis (from Publisher):

In We Are the Gardeners, Joanna and the kids chronicle the adventures of starting their own family garden. From their failed endeavors, obstacles to overcome (bunnies that eat everything!), and all the knowledge they've gained along the way, the Gaines family shares how they learned to grow a happy, successful garden. As it turns out, trying something new isn't always easy, but the hardest work often yields the greatest reward. There are always new lessons to be learned in the garden!

You and your children can learn all about the Gaines family's story of becoming gardeners in Joanna's first children’s book—starting with the first little fern Chip bought for Jo. Over the years, the family's love for gardening blossomed into what is now a beautiful, bustling garden.

Julianna Swaney’s illustrations bring the Gaines family garden to life with colorful, whimsical watercolors and invite you to enjoy the beauty of a thriving garden.

Joanna Gaines is co-owner, co-founder and lead designer of Magnolia Homes, and previous co-stars in HGTV’s Fixer Upper with her husband Chip. She appreciates the old ways of living, simple and hard-working with home at the center. Joanna was born in Kansas and raised in the Lone Star State. She graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Communications and was inspired to join the world of design while interning in New York. Off-the-beaten-path boutiques felt like home in the midst of the big city. These shops were the influence for what came next. 
Joanna decided to open her own shop in 2003, bringing her NYC-inspired ideas and eye for design back to her roots—Waco, Texas. She soon discovered this emerging passion complemented Chip’s experience, and together they began remodeling and flipping homes. Joanna self identifies as a driver, and takes pride in her work. But she also loves to have fun with Chip and appreciates his hilarious antics. 
Joanna’s design preference is simple, fresh and timeless. She loves the use of industrial pieces that are a glimpse of how life used to be. Her specialty is making old things new and seeing the potential in every project-no matter how hopeless it may seem in the beginning. By preserving and highlighting the character of each home, Joanna keeps things original and one of a kind. Her passion is to create functional rooms that inspire and encourage others to own their space. 
In between filming for Fixer Upper, their many renovation projects, and running Magnolia, Joanna enjoys life on the farm and spending time cooking family recipes in her kitchen. Gardening soothes her soul and being with her five kids dominates all other favorites.

I had a rough weekend in the garden. I’d been planning a strategy since Fall and just finally started seeing my seeds sprouting in the greenhouse. Unfortunately, most of Middle Tennessee was under a wind advisory for the next 24 hours. I was inside the greenhouse when a major gust of wind came hurling against every solid object it could find. It became so windy, the above-ground pool lifted up and flew against the house.

It wasn't even ten minutes after sharing my excitement about my sprouts, the greenhouse starts crushing in on me. All of my seeds tipped over and spilled to the ground as I tried to hold the roof up while the metal bent. It felt like I was trapped in a tornado! After I got out, I just stood there in shock. My beautiful greenhouse and all of my plants were destroyed, and this wasn’t long after losing most of my childhood in the recent flood. I wasn't ready for another disappointment.

To cheer me up, my boyfriend surprised me with Joanna Gaines' new book, We Are the Gardeners. It had recently come across my desk (I was anticipating it), but I hadn’t gotten a chance to read it yet. I read through my gift copy and I can’t even tell you how much it encouraged me when I really needed it.

We Are the Gardeners tells the story of America's most beloved family's adventures in learning how to garden. Like most of us, it all began with a small house plant. In the case of the Gaines family, a fern that soon met its demise after being over-watered and overexposed to sunlight. Eventually, they bought a new fern and expanded to several houseplants (can't we all relate?) which inevitably inspired the beginnings of an outside garden.

As you journey with the Gaines children through their disappointments and lessons-learned, you are encouraged not to give up when you hit a snag in your plans.

"We debated if we should just give up. Was it really worth it to start all over again? Then we remembered one very important detail:
It was our responsibility not only to grow this garden but also to protect it" (Gaines 35).

It’s just a children’s picture book, but even at 31 years old it inspired me when I felt really bummed about my garden dreams being crushed. The message is sweet and inspiring for all ages.

In addition to the message, this is a beautiful book. Julianna Swaney's folk-style botanical designs are the perfect ornament to the narrative, making this an ideal gift book for aspiring gardeners.

We Are the Gardeners could not have landed in my hands at a more opportune time. I feel it will hold special meaning for me for years to come, especially as I rebirth my garden and watch it grow. I fell in love with it so much, I decided to read it for storytime the next day accompanied with DIY mini-greenhouses complete with flower seeds! My library families loved it.

If you're starting a family garden, or need an extra boost of encouragement during your own journey, pick up a copy of We Are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines. You won't be disappointed!

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Some of the wind damage:

Luckily, I have a 5 year warranty on it and was informed I can still get a full refund. Instead we'll be building a bigger, sturdier hoop house, which we weren't planning to do until next year. If you're curious about what that is or how to build one, check out this video.

If you'd like to see the press release for my Seed Library, you may find it HERE.

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