Espaliered tree

Seed Pinchers

            All over the UK, people are pinching seeds.  At Holehird Garden, above Windermere in the Lake District, a man admiring hydrangeas is nearly ready to leave the garden.  “But first,” he says, “I have to make a little trip for some seeds.”  He shrugs his shoulders.  “When I visited gardens with my mum, she always pinched seeds.  That’s not right, I’d tell her.  You’ll get in trouble.  Now I’m doing it myself.”
            In the double-walled garden at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, a man with a handful of seed pods, little black seeds inside the papery skin of what was a flower, admits he pinches seeds from each garden he visits.  “That way,” he says, “you don’t just have a plant, you have a whole garden, a memory.”  His wife nods.  “You see, they don’t pick all the seed heads.  They can’t.  No harm.”  He takes a couple more.  “Of course they really frown on cuttings.  That’s not good form.”
            He moves closer.   “But if you bring a little plastic bag, and put tissue in it, quite damp, you can snip a small bit with a little pair of scissors, wrap it up, and it will keep moist up to forty-eight hours.  You might even see a tiny sprout by the time you return home.”  He presses two seed heads into my hand.  “Of course they frown on cuttings.”  He and his wife march on. 
            “You’re not going to keep those seeds, are you, Dad?” asks my son.  “It’s not right.”
            “I’ll throw them away,” I say.  But I put them in my pocket.
            I do not declare them at customs.  I want a bit of Wales in my Kansas garden.  Just next to Holehird, from the Lake District.

 "Seed Pinchers" first appeared in Rockhurst Review










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