I determined to do no less than to transform the world with beauty. If I have succeeded in one small way, if only in one small corner of the world amongst [those I love] then I shall count myself blessed and blessed, and blessed, and the work goes on...
— William Morris

Fifteen years ago my husband and I purchased a two-story, brick, traditional foursquare house. We had been married for six years, had lived in a small apartment, a quaint townhouse and we were ready for a home to call our own. 

When the papers were signed in the autumn of 2003, we became the owners of a 6,686 sq foot property. 

In 2003 the house stood in the center of a flat expanse of green grass. Heavily mulched flower beds lined the perimeter of the entire property. A lilac tree, butterfly bushes, hydrangeas, a forsythia, and ornamental grasses grew in a random style while mature trees - a Japanese maple, two cherry trees, a maple and two spruces - rose above it all. On one side, a privet hedge provided seclusion from the property next-door.

Exactly one year - to the day - after we moved into our 'dream home,' our son was born. And so, our big, flat backyard was perfect. During his toddler years we spent our days playing on a blanket in the grass, kicking a bouncy ball around and baking cakes to leave for the flower fairies on May's eve. When he was three we built a kidney-shaped garden pond and when he was five we planted our second vegetable garden. He is now thirteen and we still have a pond. Veggies? No. And most of that lawn of green's gone too!

Those cherry trees, the maple, one of the spruces, and the ornamental grasses...they're long gone! In 2015 we re-designed the entire 6,686 sq ft property. And in three years we have added 100+ native plants to our little corner of Penn's Woods. Aside from those species, we grow 100+ non-native species, including herbs and old-fashioned cottage flowers. 

In June, I began getting to know the flora, fauna and fungi sharing these square feet with us. If you wish to learn more - and I hope you do - navigate to the index to view our life lists. I sincerely hope you'll follow along...

Jessica Allen explores the fields and forests of Pennsylvania with her artist-husband, Michael Allen, and their son, Benjamin. She shares her observations through words and pictures of everyday magic and beauty she sees in her world.