If You Plant the Seed, They Will Come!

My daughter’s sunflowers have finally bloomed and they are grand! In an earlier post I wrote about the beginning of this garden and how both my children now have their own gardens. Both gardens and gardeners are flourishing and it is a joyful thing to behold. Something like how we feel when about mid-way during the teaching year, we realize that things are coming together, the students are in their routines, and real learning is taking place.

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We watched these sunflowers grow throughout the early summer. Some days they seemed to grow six inches or more. The most exciting time was when the plants began to create blossoms which we knew would be big and glorious, and they are. What we did not know, or even think about, is how these big beauties might attract some new visitors to our yard….

But one day recently when I had the sprinkler on in the garden behind my house, I spotted a flash of bright orange. There was quite a lot of activity around the sprinkler that day that included about a half dozen blue jays, some crows, a pair of cardinals, a catbird, and this newcomer. The bright orange visitor was bobbing in the juniper bushes that hang above the birdbath adjacent to the sprinkler. He/she clearly was more cautious than the other birds and kept disappearing into the brush. I ran and got my bird book and binoculars, determined to identify it. I mentally noted its various features: size, shape and color of tail, color of beak and feet, color and shape of head, color of feathers. Success! I had my first ever Baltimore Oriole visitor. Since then he/she has shown up a couple of times and I look forward to its reappearance. Its bright orange body is such a striking contrast to the other birds we are used to seeing.

My daughter was on the lookout for the oriole, when she spied another newcomer. She described it to me as being very bright yellow…not orange! Puzzled, we looked for the bird in our bird book and learned that…lo and behold…it is an American Goldfinch, another stranger to our parts. Upon further reading, I learned that one of its favorite snacks is sunflower seeds! So…plant a sunflower, and a goldfinch (and a Baltimore Oriole?) will come!

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Maybe we should think about the implications of this event for our teaching. After all, aren’t we all planting seeds every day in our classrooms? What are the seeds we are choosing to plant? Are we nurturing their growth or do our “seeds” need more attention than we are giving them? Who will be attracted to the fruits of our seeds? How will we sustain their interest? It’s a simple lesson, but the sunflowers and the new birds they attracted reminded me that sometimes we overlook the obvious in our plans.

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17 thoughts on “If You Plant the Seed, They Will Come!”

  1. What a glorious garden. Who’d a thought what the seeds would bring. What a lovely lesson to hold as we start the school year. We never know. Love this: “sometimes we overlook the obvious in our plans.”
    Julieanne

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  2. Gorgeous flowers, and gorgeous connections from a garden to the classroom! One of my favorite picture books is Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden by Edith Pattou. The metaphor you describe is carried out in the book- a principal gives each teacher a new packet of seeds each year. Some of the seeds need more care than others, some bloom with no help from you, others take on an unexpected form. This book reminds me of the power of teachers and that what we do in the classroom today is an investment in students. We might not know how that child will bloom after leaving us but we are doing what we can to create something beautiful and lasting. I will return to this slice to reflect more on the ideas you described. SO glad to read your writing, my friend!

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  3. Awesome sunflowers! (and you even had pictures!) Aren’t the orioles amazing? I love the variety you have gathered around the sprinkler and the sunflowers. Yes, plant a seed and they will come. Well done!

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  4. I don’t have a yard, but I grow things in planters every year. this year it is tomatoes and I feel the same way. As each flower emerged, I was excited. As fruit appeared, I became more excited. I ate my first homegrown tomato on Friday and it was delicious.

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  5. What a great post! I never thought to relate our/my planting back to teaching and nurturing. You made me realize so much. When we moved in May, we ended up with a beautiful deck that I couldn’t wait to put some plants on. I discovered I love planting my own herbs and veggies, so now I have sweet basil, rosemary, parsley, a pepper, and I even grew my own lettuce! I tend to my “garden” each day and make sure not to neglect them so they grow. I guess the same can go for parenting as well. Thank you for sharing your slice! 🙂

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  6. Such beautiful sunflowers! Reading your slice I was reminded of the tomato plants and sunflowers my students planted at the end of last school year. I hope their plants grew and thrives as did yours. I hope their sunflowers also attracted wildlife to their gardens. Thank you for your beautiful slice today.

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