What does a packet of seeds mean to you? That’s the theme of today’s story, “A Packet of Seeds,” by Louisa Fordyce, where she explains the joy of gardening through a tiny seed envelope.
To me, a packet of seeds means opportunity and the beginning of something wonderful and magical. I remember as a child being given this small package with directions on how to plant it and care for it. Then from there, I watched my flower grow from that tiny little seed into this beautiful healthy plant. Seeds are so beautiful in their simplicity yet they contain so much potential. And once you see a seed sprout, you naturally want to nurture it, so your relationship with the seed changes too.
Maybe you remember the window greenhouse experiment. As a child, you’d be given a bean to saturate in a wet paper towel, then hang on a window inside a plastic bag. Over time you’d watch the bean grow legs and sprout. That moment was amazing, watching it grow before your eyes.
Seeds and plants are more than a hobby, they’re an extension of you. Your garden becomes your sanctuary, the place where you can connect with nature and the universe. A packet of seeds is like a ticket to this beautiful world you want to live in, whether it’s a flower garden or rows of tomatoes.
Keep reading to find out what a packet of seeds to means to today’s author. I love this story.
Enjoy More Stories about the Joy of Gardening
This story comes from our archive that spans over 30 years, and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that turn stories of the joy of gardening into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope this story does for you as well. Enjoy!
A Packet of Seeds
So much…from so little!
By Louisa Fordyce
What does a packet of seeds mean to you? For me, they first meant going door-to-door in my neighborhood, selling seeds as a fundraiser for my third-grade class. I don’t remember what we sold, how much the seeds cost, or what the money was for. But I remember the colorful pack-ages and wishing that I could grow the flowers and vegetables pictured on them. My family wasn’t interested in gardening, however.
As soon as I grew older and got my own home, I put packets of seeds on my shopping list every Spring. To this day, I still scour the grocery store racks and visit local greenhouses to find old standards and try new varieties. I love putting a hard-coated seed into the ground or a starter pot and waiting in anticipation to see its first hint of green appear. It takes longer to see the fruits of my labors than when I buy starter plants, but there is great satisfaction in eating tomatoes and cucumbers sowed by my own hand. Watching annuals such as zinnias and nasturtiums that I started burst into bloom never ceases to amaze and please me. It is also exciting to try new plants—like loufa gourds (Cucurbita cylindrica Luffa) I hope will one day dry into scrubbing sponges. Will I be successful in getting cup and saucer vine (Cobaea scandens) to propagate this time?
That one is always a challenge.
Through the years, packets of seeds have taken on additional meanings. My gardening friends and I start a variety of different plants each year and share seedlings. Some of the plants reseed and when I see new sprouts emerge the following year, I always make the connection with the giver. “Look,” I cry, “the Aztec nicotiana that Joyce started. I can’t wait to smell its flowers.” Or: “Here’s the cosmos that Sue gave me. How nice to see it again this year.” Some of the plants started from seed are perennials, such as rudbeckia and monarda, and when they can be divided, they are shared with more friends. The cycle continues.
In recent years, I became involved with a volunteer gardening group that maintains the public flowerbeds here in Saltsburg, PA. Each year, we sponsor a fundraiser in which members sell perennials potted from their gardens and also plants started from seed. A simple packet of 25 moonflower seeds (Ipomoea alba Calonyction) costing less than $5 can translate into as much as $50 in earnings for the group. The profits are similar for other seedlings: small investment, large payoff. In addition to making money for replanting and renovating the town gardens, we get to talk with the customers every year. Sharing our love of gardening and knowledge with others is a priceless extra benefit from that little packet of seeds.
What does a packet of seeds mean to you? To me, it means flowers, fruits, vegetables, accomplishment, shared knowledge, camaraderie—and a few dollars for a good cause. That is quite a return for a small investment. ❖
By Louisa Fordyce, published originally in 2021-22, in GreenPrints Issue #128. Illustrated by Chelsea Peters
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