The Lonely Sunflower

A few months ago I hosted a play date for the girls and decided to have a garden planting activity for the kids. I know, I know, how very Martha of me… . With visions of a row of beautiful sunflowers lining the back of my garden beds, I set my child laborers to work (OK, so my motivation for this project wasn’t totally unselfish). Diligently, my tiny workers sat on the brick curb of one of my raised beds, plopping a few giant seeds into small containers to be transplanted later. It was a total Norman Rockwell moment—probably one of the cutest things I’ve seen in a long time. When we were done, we secured our pots under netting, gave each seed a sprinkling of water, and went inside for a snack.

I don’t know if it was the wind, the birds, or the fact that adorable seven-year-olds don’t exactly make the best gardeners, but not one of the seeds sprouted. Actually, let me rephrase that: not one of the seeds we planted sprouted. What grew was a rogue, dropped seed that happened to land in the ideal spot right at the front edge of my raised bed (something like this would never happen to Martha).

And, of course, the birds knew exactly when to get to it, which only made it look odder.

Now, instead of the row of majestic stalks I had envisioned standing at attention to frame the perimeter of my garden, I have one sunflower. One giant sunflower in the most ridiculous of locations. But the thing is, I love my rebel sunflower, and have watched with wonder as it has grown so tall and blossomed. Could I transplant it or dig it up? Sure, but I won’t. It has become just as much a part of my garden as the other plants, and every time I see it, I smile.

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