A: For me, the magic of seeds is really important. It’s one of the things that hooked me into gardening.
Q: You never get over it, do you?
A: There’s always an element of excitement. I never take it for granted. Seeds are such tiny things, but they are packed with life. Think of the size of the sunflower seed and compare it to a fully grown sunflower plant. The transformation is phenomenal.
It’s no accident that at the beginning of the pandemic, there was a run on seeds. Gardening grounds us and gives us something to look forward to. In times of crisis, these simple qualities can offer a psychological lifeline.
Q: Seeds possess all their needed genetic coding.
A: Absolutely. We unlock that by watering and nurturing them. Gardening is an accessible form of creativity and allows us to bring something new into the world. One powerful example has to be the gardens created by soldiers in the trenches during World War I. In that appalling landscape of death and destruction, they grew colorful flowers from seed, and their beauty helped them hold on to an alternative reality.
Or for the prisoners I interviewed at the GreenHouse project on Rikers Island in New York: Working with nature’s powers of growth and transformation helped them believe in their own capacity to change their lives.