Hello Fellow Readers, There’s a country song by Pat Alger and Ralph Murphy, sung by Kathy Mattea that I adore. The chorus of Seeds speaks volumes starting with “We’re all just seeds in God’s hands. We start the same, but where we land is sometimes fertile soil and sometimes sand.” The thing is, many plants grow very well in the sand. It’s a matter of adding a bit of organic matter.
Plants rely on transport systems.
Unlike people or animals with more freedom to seek out ideal places to live, plants rely on transport systems that evolved somewhat magically to find their way to where they can root and thrive. Late summer and fall, after a walk with Ellie, I marvel and frustrate over how many burrs stick to her fur. These burrs are seeds designed to fall off their fuzzy or feathered hosts as they move along.
Critters eat the abundance of seeds inside fleshy fruits that make their way out the other end (ahem) and are still viable to sprout. Then there’re nut seeds such as acorns, walnuts, and hickory that critters store for future meals and forget about them; hence the nuts become next year’s saplings.
Even ants play a role in dispersing seeds.
It’s fascinating that ants have a role in dispersing seeds with plants such as trillium and bloodroot, which have fleshy structures that provide food. Ants bring them back to their abodes, and the inedible parts either germinate within the nest or where ants discard them.
Of course, the wind disperses some seeds. There are maple trees (Acer) with their winged seeds and milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) along with dandelion (Taraxacum) with seeds attached to fuzzy thingies. I have a beautiful memory of dear Mom mischievously blowing dandelion seeds in defiance of those that consider these golden lawn guests a weed. You can eat all the parts of the dandelion after all. They’re full of nutrition, more so than kale and spinach, and the greens taste like arugula- another reason to forgo chemicals on your lawn.
We are all very much alike.
There’s a trend for folks to send saliva samples for DNA testing to find their ancestry. It turns out we are all very much alike. I suppose the health history of our lineage may be useful, but where we are rooted now is what matters. The most important – is being rooted in the spirit of love.
“We’re all just seeds in God’s hands”… it’s all about love.
This story is featured in Episode 11 of the Garden Dilemmas Podcast:
Column Updated 12/5/21