By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

My upstairs neighbor, a horticulturist at Missouri Botanical Garden, recently returned from a research trip to Kyrgyzstan where his team helped local scientists collect fruit and nut tree seeds for national seed banks including one in Kyrgyzstan.

He said some of the trees are among some of the oldest on the planet. Kyrgyzstan, located on part of the iconic Silk Road, is bordered by China to the east and Uzbekistan to the west, a location I can barely imagine.  How exotic the trip, the research, the land, the terrain, and the seeds sound to someone who has traveled extensively in south St. Louis!

A few days ago, I collected orange cosmos seeds from our back yard, an abundant harvest of hope. As I gazed over our yard, looked at the neighbors’ lawns, and down our obscure alley, I pondered seeds near and far. There’s nothing glamorous or mysterious about the terrain and plants in a city garden; it’s pretty much garden-variety flora. I wondered if a horticulturist from Kyrgyzstan would be awed by an ordinary St. Louis backyard garden that strives to be home to monarch butterflies, honey bees and other pollinators.

Seeds near and far, collected and saved for futures near and far, have more in common than we imagine. What seems exotic from my local perspective is ordinary for others in far-away Kyrgyzstan.  Both trained horticulturists and urban gardeners believe in and hope for a healthy future for plants and the planet. Collecting seeds, either for seed banks or to share with neighbors and to plant next spring, is an act of faith and hope.

  • What promises hope for you?
  • What seeds of hope can you collect?
  • To whom will you give them?


Photo by Slawek K on Unsplash