For the Love of Mystery and Other Gardening Plots

When I was in fifth grade I visited an aunt that I had not seen for awhile.  She had some lovely flowers in her yard which I was quick to admire.  It turned out to be a perfect time to visit, because the plants I had been admiring were just beginning to form seeds.  My aunt seemed pleased that I had noticed her plants, and she picked off the few seeds that had already formed and gave them to me.


Mirabilis jalapa

Image by Ombrosoparacloucycle via Flickr

I stored the seeds in a safe place until I could sow them in the spring.  When my mom said it was warm enough to plant them, I dug up a small area near the foundation of the house we were living in at the time.  I carefully planted the seeds and hopefully went back to check on them each day.  I felt a special sense of satisfaction when the first shoots began to appear.  I knew they were called
four o’clocks
, but I didn’t know what colors were in those particular seeds.  The suspense added to my fascination.

Mirabilis jalapa

Image by Ombrosoparacloucycle via Flickr

I don’t recall if I over-thinned or if some seeds failed to germinate, but I ended up with only four or five plants.  When they finally bloomed, most were some shade of pink, but one was yellow.  It was my favorite.  I planned to collect seeds from these plants.  I would be careful to collect and label them by color so I could group more of the same colors together next year.  I wanted a bigger garden!


four-o'clock flower (オシロイバナ) #6759

Image by Nemo's great uncle via Flickr

Then my older cousin showed up.  She was having trouble with her husband and needed someone to watch her two little girls while she worked out some issues.  Both girls were probably around three and four years old at the time.  My mother was never one to say no, so we added two more little bodies to an already crowded home.


A couple of days later, I came home from school and was greeted in the driveway by the younger of the two girls.  She was a cute little blond with sky blue eyes.  She had an adorable little smile on her face and her innocent eyes had the look of a young child who was about to do something sweet for you.  She held out her hand to offer something pretty she had found—my yellow four o’clock.  She had pulled it up by the roots!

That ended my plan to harvest its seeds that year, but the suspense and anticipation of the gardening process never left me.  All these years later, I still love watching for those first shoots to rise up in the spring.  I move plants around like some of my friends rearrange furniture.  I draw out plans ahead of time, but will often change my mind spontaneously once the digging begins.  I never write down the changes that went off plan.  By the following spring I no longer remember where some plants ended up.  That, however, is part of the fun!  I delight in rediscovering them.


About Adnelg

Retired ... taking it slow and enjoying the simple things in life
This entry was posted in past (my stories of), people, plants and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to For the Love of Mystery and Other Gardening Plots

  1. I see this is your first post and I enjoyed it! Happy writing and gardening.

  2. Anthony says:

    Really enjoyed reading this, hope you will enjoy your blogging experience. My first seeds that I sowed was sage back when I was 7. The plant lasted until last year when the cold winter finally finished it off, I saws some seeds from it and now have a replacement. I hope to have a strain of the first plant I grew for the rest of my life!!!

    • she says:

      Anthony, it is so sweet that you’ve collected sage seeds since you were seven.. I love sage but have never tried to save the seeds or grow it from seeds. I just buy little plants at the garden store. In fact, I don’t think I ever realized that sage had seeds. I guess this summer I need to be more observant!!

  3. she says:

    I loved the story of your childhood and how you started your garden interests. I have always loved flowers but got most of my interest in gardening in high school when i saw that Aunt Elsie used her whole backyard as a flower garden. I do not remember any grass at all in her backyard in Brookfield! She loved all kinds and planted every inch in gorgeous colors!!! I always enjoy seeing how people design their gardens and envy those of you who have such GREEN thumbs!!

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