Three Steps to Grow Anything (Not Just Plants)

I need the desert. Some people need the beach or mountains, but I choose the stripped down allure of wide open spaces and plants that show us the basic truths of minimalism. I don’t get to see it often, but when I do, I know it’s where I need to be.

I remember the first time I saw a saguaro cactus. It imprinted on my brain and I never forgot the beauty of that harsh strength.

This week, I decided we needed to grow one. Well, maybe not a saguaro, but a cactus.

If you want to start any kind of garden, I’m discovering the beginning is a lot easier than I had thought. My husband is the green thumb in our house and I usually leave everything horticultural to him. But he was out of town and Sylvia and I needed a dose of dirt on a cold, winter day.

We took a quick trip to the store to gather our supplies of starting mix and a packet of seeds to begin our experiment in bringing a desert to our home in the Midwest.

Seeds continually amaze me. Like babies, there’s all kinds of potential in that small package. I remember in elementary school when we put lima beans in paper towels and measured whether they grew faster in dark or light. My mom was a science teacher, so we did a duplicate experiment at home and I checked my seeds impatiently, awaiting signs of growth.


Not sure what growth we’ll see here, but it’s worth a try. That’s kind of become my new motto for life in my 50’s. I keep venturing off in multiple directions and trying new things, even when I’m not sure what will result. Maybe especially when I’m not sure.

But this day, watching Sylvia taught me something. She was meticulous in her planting, something I’m not so good at. Planning and forethought don’t often enter into my projects. I often start haphazardly, and the results usually show that.

I’m going to try to take a lesson from her and maybe my goals, and these seeds, will grow into something beautiful. I want “plant meticulously” to become one of my mantras. It won’t come easy for me, but even those of us who are not naturally planners can find ways to get our ideas off the ground in more effective and efficient ways.

These seeds may sprout and we’ll have a blooming cactus garden, or they may do what most of my planting attempts do and we’ll still have this egg carton full of dirt, and only dirt, in the time the package says they should germinate. But that egg carton is now sitting on a warm seedling mat as we try to nurture them to life, because the planting is just the beginning.

If these seeds don’t sprout, we will try again. Seeds are cheap and egg cartons are basically free. We will learn what we didn’t know the first time around and do better the next time.

So if you are interested in growing a desert or a business or a relationship or a movement, give it a try. Gather your supplies, plant meticulously and then nurture those seeds. If they don’t grow, use what you learned and plant again.

And when that beauty appears, share it. The world always needs more beauty, whether it’s a strong mighty saguaro or a delicate sprig of Baby’s Breath.

Find your way to grow it all. The sooner you start planting, the sooner you’ll see those blooms. It’s worth a try.