The Unexpected Seed

Last year our marigolds in the garden were not in full bloom until we were getting ready to close the garden up. It had already begun to rain heavily and the dead blooms were pretty soggy, but I decided to try to save some seed anyway.
I took the poor soggy things home and laid them on paper towels all over my kitchen counters letting the whole blooms dry out a little before I even attempted to break out the seeds.
I was pretty doubtful of any decent results but I plugged on anyway. I am easily entertained.
Eventually I was able to break apart the once slimy dead heads, spread out the seeds even more (if there isn’t enough counter space left, I don’t have to cook, right?), dried them thoroughly, and stored them away in jars marked “WET MG GARDEN MARIGOLDS” so I wouldn’t be too disappointed when I planted them and they didn’t grow. If they did grow, there would be more than enough seeds for everybody’s garden. Saving seeds saves a lot of money, only one deadhead off a marigold will give you more seed than one whole store bought seed packet. Another advantage for saving seed, especially vegetables, is you can save from your best plants that you know will grow in your particular micro-climate and soil.
Anyway, I digress. This year I started the seeds inside un der lights and up they grew. ALL of them. 100% germination! Every single seed I planted. Amazing and worth the effort.
When the seedlings were about 1 1/2″ tall I had a visitor. She was so excited about seeing seedlings in late winter growing in the house simply, no fancy greenhouse setup, just a shelf, a reading lamp, and questionable seeds. She was like the proverbial child in the candy store.
After hanging out with mostly people who do start from scratch gardening, I had forgotten that not everyone does. I was surprised and happy to show her all the seeds I had going at the time and answer a few questions. She was fascinated with the concept of raising celery from the end of the stalk you would normally throw away. I had just read about that concept (see posting on this page about this subject), and had two ends in a bowl of water just growing new leaves.
Fast forward to last weekend. This woman returns and literally runs up the stairs saying – I have to see the babies! How big are they now? She had never before watched a seed grow and she is 61 years old. She has a beautiful yard full of wonderful flowers and a deck covered with pots and baskets of flowers but had always bought them as plants (a very expensive endeavor indeed). She said she remembered her mother and her “little lady friends” saving and exchanging seeds and thinking that was “silly, old lady stuff, trying to be so frugal” and didn’t understand why they just didn’t go to the store and buy them.
After she saw the starts growing in my living room she ran home, poked around for tables, and lights, and pots she could use, set up her spare bedroom for growing and planted her own starts. She says, “I call them my little babies, and I check on them sometimes 2 or 3 times a day, and talk to them, and I put the end of my celery stalk in a bowl of water like you did, and it’s growing, it’s really growing! When should I put it in the dirt?”
I so needed this experience. It re-inspires me for another season.
A few marigold seeds planted in this garden that we weren’t sure would grow, yielded more seeds we weren’t sure would grow, bear an unexpected seeds of inspiration, growth, and love of gardening.
This to me is what croning is all about. You may or may not ever see if you have made a difference in this world, but know that if you are pursuing your joy know that you spread that joy and someone will receive it as well. It will spread out into the universe.

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