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Hope in a Seed

"Where flowers bloom so does hope." ~Lady Bird Johnson

Happy National Plant a Flower Day!

There is something hopeful about seeing a field of flowers. Somehow, everything that may seem to be going wrong in the world vanishes on exposure of such beauty in flowers and what they have to offer. Their bright, cheerful, colored blooms bring us such joy in times of darkness and sorrow. There are between 300,000 and 400,000 species of flowering plants. Maybe even more. There is a flower to bring everyone happiness!

In the midst of shoveling snow upon snow that seemed never-ending, I started indoor sowing my “early” flowers and herbs as I call them. This first sowing of flowers and herbs are my hardy annuals that can tolerate some frost and be planted outside in early spring before the last frost.

These seeds may take longer to germinate and/or have a slower growing period than the seeds I will start in April and May. A few of these “early” flowers and herbs are Iceland poppies (Papaver nudicaule), snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus), and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.).

The seeds I will sow in April and May are tender annuals that cannot tolerate as much frost and grow faster like zinnias (Zinnia elegans), marigolds (Tagetes spp.), and sunflowers (Helianthus annuus).

As I am prepping my propagation table with seed starting soil, seed trays, bottom trays, and water for this seed-starting season, my excitement begins to build because this means that it is another new season of life. There is something about planting and observing seeds come to life inside while watching the dormancy of winter outside. The anticipation of experiencing existence all over again creates a lot of energy and motivation for me.

Every year, it never ceases to amaze me that such a massive, gorgeous flower, sometimes reaching six feet tall, can produce, from what seems like, a literal speck of dust that fell from your bookshelf. Once those seeds are planted, if you’re like me, you may even check to see if they grew more each day, which honestly, sometimes they do. My tiny eucalyptus baby seedlings definitely grew over night! That plant filled with millions of cells transpiring and pumping nutrients and water for photosynthesis to live!

In honor of Plant a Flower Day, March 12, grab a pot, soil, seeds, water and celebrate the arrival of spring and the beauty to come! Because of our region, we can’t plant most plants outside until mid-May, but there is the option of starting seeds in a greenhouse, under artificial lighting, or on a sunny windowsill in your home.

A few seeds that can be started indoors this time in mid-March and some of my favorites for later outdoor planting are pincushion flower (Scabiosa atropurpurea), black eyed-Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) and strawflower (Bracteantha bracteata). If you don’t want to sow seeds, you can buy a potted flower and transplant it to one of your favorite pots or force a spring tulip, daffodil, or hyacinth bulb in a vase of water and watch the stages of its bloom life. Enjoy this planting season and see how that little seed, seedling, or plant can bring such hope and joy as it transforms and produces their cheery flowers.

I wrote this blog for Northampton Community College. Go check it out on their website!

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