Letting them fly

I get like this.

You see I have looked after these babies since March.

Scabious atropurpurea ‘Beaujolais Bonnets’

I remember when they were just a twinkle in a Chiltern Seeds Spring catalogue.

Scabious atropurpurea ‘Beaujolais Bonnets’

I scattered their tiny shuttlecock seeds, and made sure I didn’t sneeze at the wrong moment.

Scabious atropurpurea ‘Beaujolais Bonnets’

I pricked them out so carefully, holding them by a leaf and not the stem.

Zinnia elegans ‘Cupid Mixture’

I tucked them into their new little pots.

Zinnia elegans ‘Cupid Mixture’

I made sure they had just the right amount of water and sunlight.

Cosmos bipinatus ‘Xanthos’

I pinched them out when they needed it.  To make sure they sprouted in all directions, not just up.

Clockwise from top: Dahlia ‘Waltzing Matilda’, Dahlia ‘Vino’ and Zinnia elegans ‘Cupid Mixture’

I made them wait until the danger of frosts had passed before I planted them out.

Cosmos bipinatus ‘Double Click Cranberries’

I gave them support when they needed it, but didn’t truss them up so tight they couldn’t breathe.

Dahlia ‘Vino’

I noticed when they were too hot, or thirsty, or a little bit peckish.

Scabious atropurpurea ‘Beaujolais Bonnets’

I watched them test the world out…and hesitate…and go a little further.

Scabious atropurpurea ‘Fata Morgana’

I introduced them to one another.

Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’ and ‘Vino’

I removed their spent blooms when they were done with them.

Zinnia elegans ‘Queen Red Lime’

I encouraged them to make new connections.

Zinnia elegans ‘Cupid Mixture’

To move in bigger circles.  To aim higher, to spread out.

Scabious atropurpurea ‘Beaujolais Bonnets’ and cabbage white

I wasn’t always sure about the company they kept, but I left them to it.

Scabious atropurpurea ‘Beaujolais Bonnets’

Some liaisons were all too brief.

Zinnia elegans ‘Cupid Mixture’

They made the right choices in the end.

Zinnia elegans ‘Cupid Mixture’ with a bumblebee

Each of my babies has found a place for themselves.

Dahlia ‘Vino’

They have set the world alight.

Dahlia ‘Vino’ with Dahlia ‘Tangerine’

They have shown us new perspectives.

Dahlia ‘Waltzing Matilda’

They have blown us all away.

Zinnia elegans ‘Queen Red Lime’

Again and again and again.

Dahlia ‘Waltzing Matilda’

Now I have to trust them to look after themselves.  I have got them this far.   Now it is over to them.

It’s that time of year, when little people start Primary School, and not-so-little people start Secondary School, and not-little-at-all people start University, or college, or new jobs.

So this post is dedicated to all the parents out there who have got their children this far.  You’ve done a brilliant job.  You’ve got them to the stage where they can spread their wings and fly.


With love,


If you have enjoyed this post, then please consider sharing it with the people you love, who might need a little pop of wonder or burst of natural joy in their lives.  You can sign up for email posts by clicking the ‘Follow’ button at the bottom of the page.

43 Comments Add yours

  1. Beautiful collection 👌👌

  2. Tish Farrell says:

    Lovely post – words, pics and wise thoughts.

  3. Karen says:

    Beautiful,beautiful and so close to home. The youngest of five children turns 17 this month. She’s already bought herself a car and is ready to spring into the big wide world.

    1. Ali says:

      Wow! That is a big achievement! Well done! I can’t quite imagine the feeling when you get them all to that stage.

  4. Such a beautiful post. Our garden babies need our love.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, it is a lovely outlet for an instinct to nurture.

  5. ednaossie says:

    What lovely words and notions! My boy is graduating from a book bag to a backpack this year and I am wondering where the time has gone. Thankfully, my Italian White sunflowers still need me 😉

    1. Ali says:

      Aw…I do think it is a lovely stage when they are becoming independent, and you need a great big pat on the back for getting him there!

  6. What a breathtaking array of flowers! Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos Ali!

    1. Ali says:

      It is always a pleasure to share them with you!

  7. Heyjude says:

    Beautifully written (and photographed). Hope you had a lovely holiday and yes, Steve is right!

    1. Ali says:

      We did, Jude, and it is even nicer to be back!

  8. I trust the lovely plants took care of themselves and you had a good holiday

    1. Ali says:

      My mum did a great job of deadheading my roses for me! Other things are looking a little shaggy, but lush and lovely after the rain!

  9. Rupali says:

    You made my Sunday with the beautiful flowers and wise words.
    I can very well handle the grey skies.

    1. Ali says:

      Aw, thank you Rupali. You are a lovely reader!

  10. Penny Post says:

    Great post with lovely images.

  11. Beautiful and thoughtful post Ali. Very sweet. Hope you had a nice holiday.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Cindy! We did. X

  12. Cathy says:

    Oh Ali , everything you said resonated with me and you write the same as I think. Thank you for your woonderful words, as always

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Cathy.

  13. Ann Mackay says:

    Your babies have grown up beautifully – and worth all the work!

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Ann!

  14. bcparkison says:

    You are such a good garden momma I am sure everything is in order. If not…you will get to work and streighten things out pronto.

    1. Ali says:

      It is amazing how fast weeds grow! But yes, I’m on it!

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Eliza!

  15. I thought, as I read along, you were using those charming summer annuals as metaphor for nurturing children! Look how this blog turned out. Love it. Yes, I’m sharing it with my grown daughters, themselves mothers of young and not-so-young children, all heading off to school.

    1. Ali says:

      Aw, that’s lovely. Thank you.

  16. pommepal says:

    Lovely photos, hope you had a great holiday and I am just going through the same angst as I plan to leave the babies to their own devices for 2 weeks with just the occasional check by the son….

    1. Ali says:

      Hope all is well! My roses and dahlias are just fine! The grass has greened up again and the weeds have gone crazy, but they’ll be soon sorted!

      1. pommepal says:

        Do you put mulch down to smother weeds?

      2. Ali says:

        I do mulch every winter; 5-10 cm of well-rotted muck, or bark chippings. Grass clippings under hedges and trees.

      3. pommepal says:

        I use organic chopped sugarcane and my home made compost, it breaks down and works well for me

  17. I need the Kleenex out for this one 😀

  18. huh, I never thought about this similarity between children and plants, but now that I’ve read your post, it makes perfect sense! Yet another reason for people to start gardening early in their life: to prepare for when the children come – and go, eventually

    1. Ali says:

      Yes; there are so many life lessons from gardening.

  19. Ali, I’ve been meaning to ask you if I can choose a couple of zinnia photos from the many you’ve posted recently, to use in an upcoming post that’ll include various zinnia photos. I’d credit you of course and link back to your blog. Pls let me know if you’re ok about this?

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, that is absolutely fine. X

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