“How many seeds is there, Mama?” Rysha asked me as we cut off the seed heads of the fading calendula flowers and picked the drying poppy pods. The flowers in our front yard seemed to have tripled in volume this year, thanks to the seed-gathering and sowing of last year’s efforts. Three little heads bobbed around me in the bright flowers, pulling or clipping the seed heads off and dropping them in my plastic bag. “Okay, kiddoes, let’s wait for a few more days for the rest of them – they’re still a bit green.”
Joe Courage lined the floor of our minivan with paper, and we spread out the seeds we’d picked. Here, they would have 24 hours to completely dry. I held up one little calendula seed cluster.
“Look, Rysha – here’s where the petals came out all around… and then the petals got old and blew away. Now all that’s left is a ring of seeds around the middle. Look how many seeds there are in one flower! Let’s count them.”
We counted the seeds, removing them one at a time while all three kids pressed close to watch and count aloud. “Thirty two seeds in one flower! That means this one flower has the potential make thirty two more flower plants next year!”
We picked up a poppy pod shaped like a small green bean. It was dry and papery. “Watch this. When I blow on it like the wind… pop! It splits open and the seeds jump out!” The kids squealed in delight and blew on their own poppy pods.
We spread the seeds to dry more thoroughly and, in a few days, we’ll scatter them over the front yard for next year’s summer school and blossom festival.
Rebekah (Pearl) Anast