Watch it sprout, watch it bloom


There is something amazing about planting a seed and watching it grow. I don’t care how old you are, or where you live in the world, there is just a universal thrill in something so elemental and miraculous.

Childhood project. My favorite teacher realized this, and he had an amazing project every year for his fourth-grade students.

Sometime after winter break, he had each of his students plant some seeds in a flower pot. We put our names on them, and we were responsible for watering and nurturing this black dirt.

There was no real indication of anything for a time, so some kids lost interest and lost faith of anything materializing from it.

For the students who stayed the course, the big payoff came about this time of year. The sprout of green busting through that pot of soil was such a thrill for the novice gardener.

To Mom. But, we weren’t to go home and brag about it – this was destined to be a surprise mother’s day gift.

What emerged was a plant called a Jerusalem cherry tree, complete with tiny red globes of color that weren’t really good for anything but to look at, standing out against the dark green leafy plant. That was good enough for me!

When that day in May came that we were sent packing with our pots, which had been a graded project, a fun learning experience and a gift for mom all wrapped in to one, we were a pack of proud peacocks.

As I remember it, Mr. Zimmerman didn’t harp on us about taking care of those plants. He offered suggestions about not over-watering, about turning the pot a bit so the sunlight reached the budding plant in a uniform way, but the lesson was that planting a seed and caring for it was more thrill than work, more intuition than dog-eared pages in a book.

Most of all, it was a project that required patience and faith.

I remember feeling such joy and pride in that little project, and it stands out as an amazing memory from all other elementary school happenings.

Planting flowers. I remember my dad, near the end of his life, saying, “I wish I had planted some flowers in my lifetime …” This was a man who had planted thousands of acres of corn and had the most amazing luck with producing a great stand even in the toughest growing conditions.

It struck us all as a surprising comment, but perhaps it wasn’t so surprising after all. He often said there was nothing quite so great as being able to see the rows of corn emerge in the spring for the first time, no matter how many years he had been doing it.

I have grown to thoroughly enjoy flower gardening, and the thrill seems to intensify with each passing year. I love watching the hosta return after the brash winter, poking up as green as they can be, determined and hearty.

Anyone who has ever fought with a weed knows that gardening can be as elementary as a simple “good vs. evil” dime-store novel.

For the love of flowers. It is a thrill to prevail, no matter your age, no matter your place in the universe. You know you’ve become a gardener when you look at a blank patch of grass and think how much fun it would be to replace that grass with blooms of color, framed with trellis or rock.

It is a thrill to watch nature bloom, grow, unfold – season after season, year after year. There is nothing like a blooming flower to chase the gloom of life away!


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.