30A Photography Education & Healthy Living » 30A editorial photographer inspiring women to savor life through learning about photography and healthy living. Serving 30A & Panama City Beach, Florida.

Back before we had a yard, we dreamed of the day we’d have room to grow our own produce. As soon as we bought our first house, we learned everything we could about permaculture and hopped right into converting our yard into a food factory. Since little man was born we’ve been slacking on the yard/garden/house upkeep, but we are grateful for the little seeds we planted a few years ago because now those little seeds (just like our little kiddos) are becoming fruit-bearing trees.


Unlike the more complex task of growing children, sunlight, water and good soil are all you need to set the ground for your backyard veggie factory! A home garden is not only economical, but it’s also a fun way for your whole family to truly appreciate fresh produce. The nutritious fruits of your labor will have abundant flavor that’s superior to anything you pick from the grocery bins.


To plan your vegetable bed well for meal prep, consider which foods your family loves. A personalized garden is the ideal “marketplace” for any family coping with food allergies or conditions, or simply interested in promoting healthy eating. If you plan right, you can create a brilliant, low-maintenance garden with a high return and healthy yield of yum!


Down in the South, we are able to plant winter veggies long after the rest of the U.S.. Here are some ideas for vegetables to put in the earth and cultivate now in order to make fulfilling and refreshing meals later on:

Winter squash: Some of the most versatile veggies around, winter squash are a must-plant item. Remember to leave enough room for their long vines and large leaves to creep across your plot. Or affix a sturdy trellis near the shoots and they’ll wind upwards as they grow. Kids love to watch the spiraling vines!


Roots and tubers: Root vegetables are the basis for many satisfying family meals. Carrots grow in sweetness as the weather cools down. Onions pair well with carrots, both underground and in your kitchen. Parsnips boast a gentle sweetness that tastes great mashed or in soups, and with their vibrant color, beets are just as delicious as they are beautiful! Pile mulch over root vegetables after you plant them in order to keep the ground insulated, and harvest as soon as they’re big enough to eat.

Peas: Sow pea seeds in winter for enjoyment in late spring. With dainty white blossoms and pretty leaves, peas also add decorative flair as they spread around a tepee or mini-fence.

Leafy greens: Check out the range of winter lettuces, which are extremely hardy and can tolerate lower temperatures. Spinach is also a great garden addition that’s packed with nutrition and perfect for tossing into your salad.


Beans: All types of beans can be combined with grains to create a whole balanced meal. They’re easy to grow from seed, germinate quickly and produce abundantly.

Cabbage: Savoy cabbage is a favorite type to grow, but all cabbages provide delightful crunch in fresh salads and add flavorful texture to cooked dishes.

Cruciferous goodies: Cauliflower heads are easy to grow in the winter and tend to supply an ample harvest. If your family is aiming to eat low-carb, cauliflower is a good substitute in many potato-based recipes. Broccoli, or as kids call it: “little green trees”, is fond of cool weather, full of taste and nutrients, and undemanding to nurture.

In addition to enhancing your meals, a kitchen garden is fertile ground for fantastic bonding with your kids. As you dig, plant, and weed together, you’ll reap the health benefits of outdoor exercise. The bonuses continue after the plants are grown – when you eat the ripe, nutrient-rich produce. You’ll also be left with many amazing memories of time spent together planning, planting and harvesting your produce. We’d love to hear your favorite tips for planning your garden for homegrown meals!

– The Gardners

All photos taken by Patrick Engman, long before our little man came around!



I’ve been on a run lately of having the coolest, most adventurous, intelligent, loving, and elegant-yet-unassuming couples ever. I’m not sure if it’s the result of good karma, the fact that I believe if you put yourself out there you will “find your tribe,” or that the world is actually just full of more and more amazing people. It could be some combination of all of the above, but I figure that at this point I’m just not going to question it.

Daniel and Julie were one recent couple that reflected all of those things and their wedding at Carillon Beach was pure perfection – from the sweet ceremony at the Carillon Meeting House to the way all of the guests walked to the beach to watch sunset, the words that came to my mind were “soaking it in.” They soaked in the beauty around them… Soaked in the love of one another… Soaked in the time spent with those they love… Soaked in every second of their day. As I look back upon these photos I smile, knowing that not only was it everything they wanted it be, but the images reflect who they are and their true hearts.

– Holly


Here are a few of the many people that made this day possible: 

Venue: Carillon Beach, FL; Carillon Meeting House

Wedding Coordinator: Avis Glenister, Carillon Weddings

Photography: Holly Gardner Photography

Florist: Fisher’s Flowers

DJ: DJ Paul, GTS Entertainment

Rentals: Elegant Tents & Events

One of my favorite things about working in a creative field is connecting with other like-minded individuals – particularly women that dream big and aren’t afraid to turn their passions into profitable businesses. One such lady I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with is Meredith Collie, of the eponymous stationery shop Meredith Collie Paper. Meredith and I connected through a networking group hosted by the fabulous Emily Ley and collaborated on updating some of the product photos used on her site. The project including photos from both her mens line and equestrian lines, and with each set of stationery I really sought to understand the personality of each end user.  For the men’s line, we went with darker wood and a solid dark blue background, and one of my favorites included a model with a classic dress shirt on his desk. For the equestrian line, my crafty husband and I built a backdrop out of a recycled pallet, full of texture and age, combined with some natural elements to mimic what one might find in and around a stable. Here are a few of my favorites from our collaboration!

– Holly




Before I had kids, I used to love big crowds and the constant thump of my favorite tunes coming through my speakers. If someone wasn’t talking, it made me kind of twitchy and I’d try to fill the silence with conversation. As I’ve grown, I’ve come to embrace silence… And in that quiet place, I’ve found that I’m able to see the world more clearly and find beauty in simplicity and the pauses life gives us… The glances shared among lovers, the gestures of a child as she seeks the words to tell her mother how much she loves her, the way our breathing slows to a near halt as we type with fury about the things we feel so passionately about. Like how Kristina & Shane looked at one another when they said “I do.” Their wedding was simultaneously simple and intense, and beautiful in every way. There were waterslides and kids screaming, parents beaming, and both water and tears moving. Quiet simplicity… Loving warmth… Their day was everything I love.

– Holly

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Today I wanted to share a quick sneak of a shoot for 850 Business Magazine. The magazine recently honored women that have made outstanding contributions to the business world and their communities and a local attorney, Liz Walters, was selected to represent the Bay Corridor.

The photo, below, is what was printed for the feature.


And here are a couple photos of the cover (which I did not photograph) and inside spread of the magazine.


Be sure to pick up your copy of 850 Business Magazine to read about Lisa and many other amazing women like her!

– Holly