I love these little hands. They never cease to amaze me. They create a never ending flurry of love notes and drawings as gifts for anyone who ventures by. They are constantly seeking out snuggles and touches. They pray. They draw, paint and crochet long chains of whatever she imagines her creations should be that day (hairbands, necklaces, handcuffs…). They love to be sticky making the perfect cookie and can cut veggies and fruit for that perfect snack! And, just like every little person I have ever known, these little hands can pick and pester. They can swipe clothes and smuggle away other treasured items from her big sister’s room. They can also spill and, oh boy, can they make messes! As time has passed these little hands have grown and changed as they have acquired new skills – from trying to pick up little pieces of toast and getting that spoon into her mouth to pulling the puppy’s hair and manipulating board games pieces.
But because these sweet little hands belong to a little person, they are very impatient! That could also be a function of being my child as well…I am not known for being patient. Last February, we bought a number of annual flower seeds for our first attempt at growing flowers from scratch indoors. We have always had great luck with direct seeding sunflower seeds and poppies once the soil warmed up, but indoor annual growing proved to be a lot of work with a relatively poor outcome. Or so I thought. Only about 10% of our seeds ever germinated, despite my little’s ones best efforts to urge them on. She used my heat mats, moisture domes and a little grow light she picked out for her very own room. She spritzed them and spoke to them lovingly. She bounced around waiting and waiting for the little seeds she had meticulously nestled into her starter soil to poke up. When a few of them finally did, she let me transplant them into cells (her little hands were not up to this delicate task yet…).
As the days warmed up, she hauled her two trays of seedlings in and out every morning and evening to harden off. Finally, in early June, she very carefully placed her flower babies into the shiniest, prettiest pots she could find. She also filled my deck boxes and planters. When she wasn’t looking, I added a few stuffers, but I got caught and was not allowed to add anymore flowers. These little plants looked pretty sad. Being a little particular myself, I really had to bite my tongue and keep my own hands still so as not to “aid” in her accomplishments.
However, once outside, my darling girl would not give up. She continued to water and deadhead. She even sang and danced for her flower babies (it was really stinking cute!). She named quite a few of them. She proudly pointed out each and every flower she started from seed to everyone who visited. In no time, the pots, planters and deck boxes were the most beautiful we’d ever had! I guess it was me who also needed some patience.
As the cool fall weather came, she started to collect the seed heads and store her little seeds in a binder I was given as a gift from Lee Valley. I stored it away in the cabinet for the winter and had pretty much forgotten about them until other day. Her big sister was off at one of her many sporting events and we were looking for something to do that did not involve being plugged in. Her little mind very quickly went to her seeds…
Although it is really quite early to be starting seeds, I didn’t think it would hurt to start a few trays of slower growing flowers, herbs and leeks (flowers included petunias, coleus, black eyed susan vines and coneflowers.) We found some old starter soil and earthworm castings and went to work. We had been saving tomato, peach, strawberry and lettuce containers to try as seedling trays to save money this year, so out they came as well. They seemed to work well because they had drainage holes in them already and the clear covers act like mini greenhouses to hold in moisture, saran wrap enveloping the other nests. We filled each tray with about 2 inches of soil, her little hands watering and stirring until moist (and very messy). Each little seed was gently tucked in under a fine layer of earthworm castings. She found it quite funny we were playing with worm poop! The heat mats and an old coffee table have been transformed into an incubation station in the living room in front of a sunny window. As a final touch, those sweet little hands wrote out tags for her seed babies, last year’s flower’s babies.
And as I am watching my baby’s little hands grow and change far too quickly, she will try to wait patiently while watching her little seed babies lay down roots and grow.
“In every gardener, there is a child who still believes in the seed fairy.” – Robert Brault