Wednesday, July 23, 2014

More on the power of encouragement

Last year I published a post on the power of encouragement. My parents nurtured and fed my nascent love of gardening, turning me into the garden teacher and writer that I am today.

Last week at the Farmer's Market, I had the gift come back to me in a wonderful way.

As I was working my plant booth at the 326 Community Market, I looked up to see two young ladies walking my way with two pots that were overflowing with happy plants.

Months previously, I had given a handful of seed bombs to the girl on the right and told her how to grow them. I had forgotten the gift until Thursday. She and her blonde niece walked up to me and said "hi."

"Hi," I replied. "Nice to see you again! What do you have?"

"These are the plants we grew from the seeds you gave us! We need you to tell us what they are!"

I looked and identified a type of hibiscus, a buckwheat, a small sunflower and some mustard greens. After telling her what they were, I asked her how she'd grown them.

"I planted them in these pots and kept them watered and they just grew!"

"Wow," I replied. "They look really happy!"


"Had you ever planted anything before?" I asked.

"No! This is the first time I ever planted seeds!"

"Amazing," I answered. "You did a great job!"

She smiled shyly, then continued, "My mom always told me she had a black thumb. I was afraid that I inherited it... but these did so well that I think I can grow things!"

"You sure can," I answered. "I don't believe there's any such thing as a black thumb. It just takes practice. You can learn how to do almost anything. For instance... you could learn how to tile a bathroom if you wanted to, even though it seems complicated. Just start reading, learn from someone that knows what they're doing, discover how tile works, learn to measure... and you could do it. Plants are the same way."

She looked at me quizzically. (I don't think she had any interest in tiling bathrooms... maybe not a good illustration.)

I continued, "I also think plant know when you think you have a black thumb. They get scared and don't want to grow for you!"

The girls laughed at this.

"I've killed a lot of plants," I said. "More plants than most people have ever grown in their lives. But I keep doing it and I keep learning, and plants usually grow well for me now. Just don't be scared! This is a GREAT start you have here!"

I asked if I could get my picture taken with them and post it here... I just had to capture the moment for posterity. (Thanks for taking the photo, Cathy!)

You know, I didn't sell very many plants on Thursday - but this was better than any sales I could have made. I left feeling like a million bucks.

I may have encouraged these young gardeners, but they encouraged me much more than I can ever say. The fact that they brought their plants back to show me the progress... priceless.

Good work, ladies. Keep on growing!


At October 21, 2014 at 7:20 PM , Blogger Phyllis Franklin said...



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