Care and Scarcity

Care and Scarcity

The coleus plants have successfully sprouted despite a variance of 30 degrees Fahrenheit: 60F at night, up to 90F (15.5C to 32C) on the rare sunny day.

The rare anthurium seeds are likely dead. But the dream is not. If these don’t sprout, I’ll regroup and take it up as a more serious project.

The poppies are a little thin and leggy, but they’re steadily growing.


If you look at the picture, you’ll see that there are eight seedlings, each in its own starter. It looks like my plan(t)s and intentions are eagerly coming along, and my results look flawless: eight starters with one green plant each. But you should know that my process was not flawless. Redundancy was necessary.

Each starter began with three seeds. Two or three sprouted in each. Only one seedling could stay.

I could have used more peat starter disks with one seed each and tossed out the ones that never grew. But I have limited space and starters. So, I chose to cull.

Culling might sound like an overdramatic way of describing the choice to pluck a few green sprouts. But here in this garden of metaphors, nothing is trivial. Everything is of consequence regardless of relative proportion or absolute size.

With that in mind, consider this: Time, energy, and attention are scarce and limited. Even under perfect conditions, nature requires an element of redundancy, because not everything works. And when the time comes, be sure you’re ready to separate what ought to stay from what ought not.

A sign of wisdom: knowing when to cull something good, before it becomes something harmful.