If you got a Christmas present you don’t really like, read this.

048Some years ago for Christmas I received a gardening book. Normally, that kind of a gift is perfect since I love books and I love gardens. But this book seemed, well, not quite my thing. “Seed sowing and saving” it was called. I thought I knew the basics of seed harvesting already (Pull them off a plant when they are dry. Done!) Anything more complicated than that–like the tomato-saving process I read about once that involved big buckets of rotting tomatoes–was not something I had time for. So I politely received the book, thanked the giver, and put it on the shelf.

Fast forward to October of this year. In my little garden at home I had grown some single french marigolds from a plain packet that was a free gift with purchase somewhere. They were very pretty and I noticed that they nicely went to seed when blooms were finished flowering. One sunny morning I picked a handful and put them in a leftover Tim Horton’s cup (my tea always comes double-cupped). I did the same thing the next day, and the next until it gradually became a morning ritual: come downstairs to the kitchen, let the dog out, browse the garden, pick a few seeds. It wasn’t long before I had a nice stash of them in my paper cup.

113I was having so much fun saving those seeds that when I spied a leftover white pumpkin from the community garden at church, I thought I should save those seeds, too. But those are quite different from marigold seeds and I had no idea how. Hmmmm, I thought to myself, surely I have a book on the shelf that would tell me….and voila! I spied that little gift book I had thought I would never need. Sure enough, it told me exactly what I needed to know.

So pumpkin seeds were scraped, soaked, separated and saved. Then the fun began. I got tiny little envelopes and added a few seeds to each one. After consulting my seed saving book again, I wrote instructions on how to grow them. Then I gave them to people I love at Christmas, which included friends, relatives and the staff at Starbucks.

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I know it’s a little unusual, but I wrote a card to the lovely staff at my local Starbucks because I wanted to thank them for being kind (they always offer refills). In the past year or so while our church roof was leaking and I was without an office, I wrote a lot of sermons (and blog posts!) in the back of that coffee shop. It only seemed fitting to give them seeds as an echo of our church garden and the work they have helped me to do.

I feel a little sheepish about my seed saving book now. I couldn’t see its potential, I guess. Or perhaps the timing just wasn’t right. At any rate, I’m glad I kept it. It was so much fun to share my garden seeds this Christmas!

I am sure that you received gifts this holiday season. Maybe some of them were like my seed book–not quite the right thing. But seasons change. We change. And who knows? Maybe those gifts will turn out to be exactly what you need, at exactly the right moment. Just wait and see.

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