Something happens to me when I hear someone use the word “dead” with plants. Similar to a chalkboard being scratched, it makes me cringe inside. I never understood why, it was just something I felt.
Later as a student of horticulture, I was asked in one of my gardening classes to collect and catalog 45 seed pods. The samples could come from the wild or plants used in a landscape. At first I thought, what a weird assignment, why would I need to search for such a thing and how would it make me a better gardener. Well, the search started and I ended up finding something greater, a key to one of life's cycles.
Seed pods are containers that a plant makes after its flower has been fertilized to hold the plant's seeds, their next generation. They come in all kinds of beautiful shapes and sizes. Each plant creates its own mechanism to protect those seeds to try to ensure its survival. Most seeds are a high source of protein and help feed a number of animals, including us.
Most people, when they come across a dried seed pod, see something dead or as trash. A part of the plant that needs to be swept and thrown away. The truth is that seed pods and the seeds in them are the next phase of the plant's life. One of the most important aspects of the plant's ability to move and live on generation after generation. It is LIFE.
This revelation completely changes the way you see plants who are at the end of their cycle. When we look inside a seed pod and find it bursting with life, we simply cannot use the word “dead.” Once you adopt this perspective, the value of all dried flowers and plants becomes obvious.
Their colors are elegant and understated: sun-baked terracotta, palest periwinkle blue, creams and ochres and gentle browns, soft sage green, and faded yellows. Their beauty is like the beautiful faces of the elderly, softened and wise and full of stories.
And so I created a capsule, my own seed pod, a place bursting with quiet life created to share our love of plants in a different way: the transformation of them in a dried state. Bundles of dried flowers, leaves and seed pods come together to create bouquets. Dried, pressed flowers become framed, preserved portraits of nature. Here is a place where the end of a cycle is celebrated and honored. They are beautiful and complete in and of themselves.
I encourage you to explore all the ways plants can have a positive impact on your life, whether they are living or dried. Through aromatherapy, they can bestow their healing qualities. Through arrangement or pressed design, they grace your home with visual beauty. As gifts, they delight with their captured essence.
Collecting and cataloging those 45 seed pods changed my perspective on how life works and how beautiful the moments are between life and death. We may be mesmerized by the flowers a plant creates but what happens after that, is truly a miracle.