Soothing the Soul with Seeds


The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse

It’s not too big; just right.  It’s not fancy; a hodgepodge of containers and lids-with-no-Soothing the Soulhome to catch water.  I’m not a seasoned greenhouser, horticulturist, grower-of-good-stuff.  But, it’s already sprouting something.  I’m not sure if it’s a tomato plant or a sunflower seed from the dirt I used to sprout the tomato plants.  All I know is the little plant is coming up in the tomato lid.

I  dragged out all my seeds; it didn’t matter how old they were.  Some were in packages from the store; others were in containers; the seeds I had saved from plants in my yard… or someone else’s yard.  I guess I’ll know what they are when they turn into mature plants.  It’s the growing I care about.  Watching the seeds turn into something to nurture.

seeds are all planted… some I have no clue what they are.

seeds are all planted… some I have no clue what they are.

As you can see, my little greenhouse is as haphazard as I am.  The seeds that were in marked packages, got marked as that.  The others are just those surprise plants.  I’m so excited to find out what they are!

Soothing the SoulSince the greenhouse sits on the site of the sunflower house, there are already sunflowers poking their little heads up through the lime and rock, asking “What’s going on here?”

Soothing the SoulThere are other plants coming back to life after their winter siesta: peonies, sunflowers, sage, coreopsis, lilac, honeysuckle, ivy, bulbs of many varieties, lamb’s ear, baby’s breath, butterfly bush, roses.  Just to name a few.  The summer plants that have been waiting patiently in the garage for the spring rains are partying it up in the sunlight and April showers.  Or downpours as is the case right now.  Over six inches in 24 hours.

The rest of the oasis — my backyard — is a mess.  A big pond of muddy water sits where we had to dig up the sewer line, still waiting for the extra dirt it needs after settling.  The fence is down for the backhoe.  The deck is a mess of “stuff” for summer fun that needs cleaned and set to rights.  The pool is covered with the plastic that is covered with rain water, awaiting the right temperature for the uncovering.  Right now it’s just getting rain water pumped off.

But I know in a month, after a lot of hard work, our backyard will once again be that beautiful place of peace and tranquility.  Better (almost) than going to the beach.

The Sunflower Children

Maci in the Sunflower House

Today was a cousin day:  Owen and Maci are here from Kansas City to stay with Mawmaw and Pawpaw for the week and came down to swim and play with cousins Kate and Ava.   After swimming for awhile, Kate took them over to see the Sunflower House.

Owen, Maci, Ava visiting in the Sunflower House

Maci found in the house a little toy bird that chirped.  I’m surprised it still did because it had been left out in the rain.  Last time Maci played with Ava she wasn’t this nice.  It was Maci’s “I’m turning two” party, so the family from Illinois went out to help celebrate.  Maci wasn’t that happy to see all of us and particularly wasn’t thrilled with Ava, another wee one getting some of Mawmaw’s attention.  But this summer, in just a few short months, she has gotten more social and is sharing her bird that she was thrilled to find.

Maci and mosquitoes

Poor little Maci was devoured by mosquitoes!  This is a cropped and enlarged photo, but even when I was snapping pictures, I noticed something dark on her nose.  I thought it was dirt until I came in and looked at these on the computer!  She had at least six or seven bites on her face and several on her legs and arms.  As I went through these pictures, I noticed she was scratching in some of them, but in trying to get several shots of the kids quickly, I hadn’t noticed.  After they all came out of the Sunflower House and were getting ready to go, we saw the big red splotches!  Mawmaw doused her good with anti-itch cream and some Neosporin, so she should be good as new by morning.

Ava hiding in the Sunflower House

Kate isn’t in any of the pictures; she was too busy swimming… or that may have been when she was pouting.  But nevertheless, I couldn’t have used her shots because she was skinny dipping… again.  I am going to have to crop every single picture this summer!


Owen did just fine with the girls until Mawmaw mentioned Jack and Sam.  He was on a mission then.  No more swimming; get the stuff loaded in the truck; see ya later, gater; Jack and Sam are home.  It was time for Ava to take a nap since she was running around like a drunken sailor, staggering all over the yard, and looking a little loopy.  So it was decided to end our fun afternoon.

And off went my little Sunflower Children… until next time.

Sunflower House 2011

Our first sunflower blooming

Kate wanted to take pictures of the sunflower house yesterday when she was here.  She is a novice photographer that can get some pretty good shots sometimes.  She will aim and look in the viewfinder.  If it doesn’t look good to her, she moves her position or moves her subject.  I’m actually amazed at her.  Here is her shot of our first sunflower bloom:

Kate's view of our first bloom

She took several pictures of the sunflower house.  Some of them are excellent, especially for a five-year-old.  Actually, they are excellent for an any-year-old!

I made her a front door and a back door this year.  We had to get all the bird houses out and hang them around.  Then the door bell was next.  Add a chair and a little table to the mix, and the little house is starting to look like home.

still has some growing to do

view from the front: front door is by the blue birdhouse and path goes around to come out by the gate

Here is a look at some of Kate’s photographs.  I love them!  And she took all of the following pictures:

She really worked on this one to get it just right and close.

finally got just the shot she wanted

She tried to get a shot of this flower outside the “house,” but couldn’t get her angle right, so she said, “I think I can get this better on the inside.”  So in she goes and then tells me to hold the sunflowers away from it so she can get a good shot.  After she took the picture, she looked at the view and said, “That’s a good one.”  I love when she does that!

Some of the flowers inside the house

One of the many birdhouses

The sunflowers still have a little bit of growing to do.  Some will get taller than others giving the house a full look as well as a tall look.  There are plenty of sunflowers left if anybody would like to bring a bucket of water and gather some for your own sunflower house.  It doesn’t take a lot of room for one.  Of course, there’s not a lot of room in them either.

Capturing Sunflowers

beautiful sunflowers

Every summer I grow sunflowers; started them years ago from seed, and now every year they reseed and pop up all over the backyard. Sometimes the seed falls over the fence, and there are baby sunflowers growing along the alleyway.  Springtime brings the Big Transplant where I gather all the frail little plants and congregate them into one area.  I just can’t bring myself to throw any of them away or let them be trampled by alley traffic.  On the day of the Big Transplant the little sunflower seedlings always fall over, as if touching their toes, looking forlorn and heartbroken.

pathway to the Sunflower House

It doesn’t take too long for them to perk up and start growing stronger; some growing ten feet tall and others barely reaching the three-foot mark.  And every summer I take pictures of them: my sunflower children, my Sunflower House, my sunflower sanctuary.

My photography skills are by no means something to brag about, but every now and then, after furiously clicking away on my camera, I get a decent shot, a salvageable photo.  The photo of the butterfly on the sunflower at the top of the page is one of mine.

door into the Sunflower House

Making the Sunflower House is almost a tradition now, starting back ten years ago or more, when Maddy (my gorgeous teenage niece) was only four or five.  It stood empty many years until the greats and the grands started coming along.  Now I have children hiding again among the tall, leafy plants; dragging their tiny children chairs inside, checking the birds’ houses to see if anybird’s home, coming out all itchy and needing washed off with the water hose.

roof of the Sunflower House

Maddy liked to hide in it; Jack and Sam did, too, as did the kids from church.  Kate was into decorating the  House this past summer, hanging little chimes from the leaves (her doorbell) , setting tables around (that was a tight squeeze; it’s small), and hiding her treasures from the “farm” (a story for later).

They just make me smile: sunflowers and children.