It’s National Gardening Week and this year’s focus is on growing wildflowers to encourage wildlife. So far, so good. So a few days ago I took J and D (and newborn, but she didn’t participate, obviously) to Wisley, where we made seed bombs. Yes, seed bombs.
Not our term, but theirs, and at the time it seemed as innocuous as the old ladies running the activity. There was a heap of compost mixed with tiny wildflower seeds. The kids could stick their hands in and roll the compost mixture into golf ball sized concoctions, adding water to stick them together.
Then we put our ‘seed bombs’ in plastic cups, to take home. This weekend we were going to take them to the allotment and hurl them into a corner of the plot to grow.
The idea is that the seeds scatter, causing an explosion of flowers. Again, so far, so good. Except in the light of the Boston Marathon we will no longer be calling them seed bombs, but seed balls (I haven’t come up with anything more inventive than that.)
There is a tragic dichotomy between flowers and bombs. One a symbol of life, the other of death. Unnecessary death.
Yet at the scene of tragedies, in graveyards and cemeteries, flowers are always present. When words are inept, flowers are a sign of comfort, solidarity, hope; loveliness in the face of abject ugliness. We need flowers, not bombs.
This weekend we will still hurl our seed balls at the ground. Later, we will marvel at how beauty can come from mud. And as our wildflowers grow, I will remember the people whose lives were shattered by another kind of bomb, and who will never see flowers again.