Thoughts Planted by a Sycamore Seedling

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I’ve been absent for a couple of weeks, enjoying the children’s school break for Easter and generally just avoiding the computer. A burst of inspiration from the garden today brought me back — whispers from a sycamore seedling that got me contemplating…

At only three inches tall, Johnny uprooted this wee sycamore tree and planted it into a pot in the polytunnel saving it from certain death by the mower. I transplanted it recently outside to its forever home where it budded and is now adorned with leaves that express its gratitude each time we walk past it.
We look forward to watching our grandchildren climb it, just as we watch our own children now climb its mother tree, the mighty sycamore in our front garden that Johnny’s mum played in as a child with her own siblings.
Aside from the knowledge passing down from generation to generation, gardening as a family also sows seeds of inspiration within our children that we hope are growing into a need to connect themselves with nature just as our ancestors did through the centuries. We also believe the act of gardening helps to sow in children the seeds of inner strength to cope with whatever life throws at them through patience, imaginative problem solving and personal responsibility, just to name a few. We’ve also noticed it improves their focus, memory, and self-confidence (mine too). But most tangibly, we appreciate that they’re gaining all this while creating healthy food free from the contaminants that are prevalent in commercially grown food.
I’m not saying it’s for everyone or that gardening is the only way to do this within a family, just that it’s more than we expected or realised was possible when we started our family smallholding — that is certainly worth acknowledging and sharing with others who might be considering whether to embark on a similar path as ours.
Peace, love, and happy gardening,
Melissa Xx


  1. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    I agree with everything you say Melissa. Yesterday we were all out planting some potatoes! I love encouraging the kids to plant seeds, plant and even weed (though I remember not enjoying this as child so they only do what they want). I think gardening is a really important life lesson. excellent post.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You are spot on! Gardening, growing one’s food, all the lessons and discoveries that accompany this cycle of life, is indispensable. My kids are now grown ( 21 and 24) and still they feel proud of their own ability to grow food, to watch life spring from the earth. They feel empowered with the information and ability to feed themselves, to select seeds that are not contaminated with GMO’s, to understand the health of the soil and how to feed it. Hurray for those kids of yours! Bravo to you and Johnny for passing on the knowledge and skills of such essential work. I love that you see the tremendous value of including your children while gardening, working the land, bringing in the harvest, and preserving the bounty. Melissa ( and Johnny and kids), you are the breath of fresh air the world is always in need of! Happy Spring to you!

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    • Aww, thank you Denise. There are so many other things begging for their attention, especially on the best gardening (sunny) days and truthfully, many things would be easier to just do ourselves, but we’re convinced it is worth our efforts and that it is all around the right choice to include them in as much as possible. Your testimony confirms all that and more!

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  3. D > You’re right, you got inspiration from the gardening: as one so often does on a fine spring day. The Sycamore has a reputation as a ‘weed’, but that’s so unfair. It is a sturdy, handsome tree that will succeed where other species will not thrive, but neither do the decent thing and die quickly. You may find that there will be a bit of competition beweeen the Sycamore and the adjacent Junipers (?): if you value the Sycamore as your post suggests, you’ll probably have to take out the adjacent plants to allow the Sycamore to grow well. On the other hand, the Sycamore may do that job for you, by succeeding so well it starves out the neighbours.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for advice on the Junipers, D. I kind of suspected they were in a bit of a tight space there but being so small and all I was avoiding separating them. I don’t want anyone to suffer and struggle, especially in their ‘formative years’ so time to find a new home for them and perhaps replace with some annual flowers for now. Very kind of you to look out for our foliage friends! πŸ˜‰

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  4. My Welsh grandfather became a Headmaster aged 24 in a school in Herefordshire and introduced gardening lessons to the children to grow food for the school lunches. My love of gardening definitely comes from him, i hope I’m passing on that joy to my grandchildren. Neither my Mum or my children seem interested – it seems to skip a generation in this family!

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