When is the last time you planted a seed and really paid attention to the result? For me, it was, seriously, a bean sprout in second grade.
A couple of years ago I helped my husband and Sprite plant a small vegetable for the neighborhood rabbits, and I planted seeds, but I didn't hang around to watch them grow.
Well, and of course, Sprite herself started as a seed, more or less, and it's been amazing watching her grow - to see what those tiny infusions of our combined genes have created, which seems hugely different than growing plants, and yet, in some respects is quite similar.
I've long felt that if it can't cry for food, it's doomed in this house.
I said this to a dear friend who is good at plants, and his reply was, "You just need to learn how to listen," and he sent me a little packet of datura stramonium seeds. I planted two of them, thinking if I was lucky, one of them would grow.
One of them did grow - up sprouted this tiny, delicate baby. Not there one day, and grinning at me the next, and honestly, she really looked like, "Hello!" A day or so later, she was joined by her twin sister, but the second plant had a complication. Her seed casing was stuck and trapping her brand new, light-seeking leaves. (It's hard to tell, but the white hook shape in the picture to the right is baby number two, and at the end of the hook is a black blob of seed casing). I'd never been able to hear plants before, but this one kept crying at me that this seed casing business was just no good. I waited out the day to see if she could somehow lift her leaves and knock it off, but no go. So finally, in the late evening, I very carefully wiggled the seed casing loose.
And I swear, I could feel her relief and her tiny "thank you" as she stopped suffocating, and straightened her stem to stand tall like slightly older twin. And by morning? There she was, reaching for the light, spreading her light panels hungrily and gleefully shouting, "Here I am!"
I think It must be true that I never knew how to listen to plants with my eyes before. Within a week they were quite twinnish. Smaller baby caught up to bigger baby pretty quickly, and they were soon growing side by side in perfect tandem. These beauties really bend toward the light, so I turned their pot every once in a while, to encourage them to bend the other way.
There really is something darling and ticklish I'd never known before about growing things. Watching every change, from the tiny light panels unfolding, to the turning of their little heads toward the light, and, for these two, anyway, the perfect side-by-side twinsome they demonstrated when they were small. When they grew tiny third leaves, I felt a little thrill. Every new growth sprouted from the center of these two original airplane-arm cotyledons (embryonic leaves).
It wasn't all that long before more and more leaves grew, and then came the leaves that had jagged, "datura" edges. I posed her with a coffee cup one day, and noticed a tiny triangular cone growing from the center of the leaves. That cone grew a little more and a little more, and THEN became a flower! Well, sort of a flower. A dainty fluted flower that teased me for a day or so, and then withered.
The second, younger plant, gave me a flower just a few days later, and same thing - look, I have a flower - but it quickly faded. What I didn't know was that at the base of the flower would grow a seed pod. Lookie, lookie a spikey little seed pod!
Who knew? I grew a plant from seed to (almost) seed-bearing. I fed her water, and a sneaky bit of hormone, and "food" which is essentially worm poo - that was sent to me by the friend who sent the seeds, and might be the weirdest gift I've ever received from anyone.
And look how crazy they are! The bright white stick in the middle of the picture on the left is just that - a stick that I put there to support these wild growing things. TWO seed pods!
So yeah, I might be just wee bit proud of myself, ya think?
Have a great and safe weekend, darlings!