Grow, Baby, Grow!

A speck of a seed gives rise to an entire cosmos.

A few weeks ago, I indulged in one of my favorite springtime impulse buys – seeds! And I say “impulse buy” because at mere pennies apiece, I can go a little crazy without feeling guilty. I came away with a handful of flower and herb packets and spent a happy afternoon scratching away in the soil and sowing a little anticipation.

In the past I’ve usually tried to control my seeds, by planting them carefully in flats for eventual transfer into the garden. This year I stirred them together in a bowl and let them fall from my fingers. A promise of a little glorious chaos does a body good every now and then.

                Purple basil.

The bed beside my porch is planted with a mix of basils and multicolored cosmos, and when I move my ‘home office’ out onto the porch (as I often do), I spend way too much time squinting over the edge and cheering on the little baby sprouts.

Right now there’s a nice smattering of seedlings save for a couple of bare-dirt spots shaped suspiciously like my cat’s bottom. By midsummer there will be a riot of irresistible sights, smells, and flavors, and the cat’s favorite sitting spots will become extravagant thrones.

The seed scatterer’s garden creates its own personality, with weeks of waiting and tending eventually blossoming into a riot of tangled surprises. The resulting sea of color, bees, and butterflies is a sharp contrast to the evenly-spaced plants, orderly rows, and nicely mulched beds of the plant-nursery set.

When I visit those careful gardens, I’m afraid of stepping on something important. When I visit a seed garden, I feel like an excited little girl who’s just found her secret clubhouse (no boys allowed). Since I tend to over-control things, the seed garden is good therapy – everything else may be in perfect order, but in these wild little patches, anything’s possible.


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