Growing Sunflowers: A Journey of Discovery

My plant starter kit!

My school announced one day that we would be receiving a plant starter kit from the National Parks Board. I was very excited by the news as it sounded like fun.

On the day I received the plant starter kit, I was elated. There were a planting pot, five sunflower seeds and a packet of potting mix. I was so excited that I immediately set to work when I reached home. Planting the seeds was fun. My favourite parts were digging holes for the tiny little seeds and watering them. My mum cautioned that the seedlings will need a lot of care. I was confident I would do a good job.

Getting ready to plant the seeds.

Sprouts of hope
About a week later, I saw that a tiny seedling had sprouted. The only one out of the threeseeds I had planted.

The seedling grew fast and tall. I was so happy! Sadly, I think I was so happy that I over watered the plant. One day, I came back to find that my seedling had "collapsed". It was lying on the edge of the pot instead of standing upright. Thinking that it was dying, I cried.

My "baby" collapsed!

Mum used a hairclip to support the stem but it ended up being hurt.

Mum saw what happened and said, "You need to stake it." So she took a wooden stick and planted it beside my baby plant to support it. She even used my sister's tiny hairclip to clip the stem to the stick.

But I felt uneasy about the clip. It seemed too tight. I decided to remove the clip to check. True enough, the seedling's delicate stem was squashed. I let out a yelp. Mum was sorry. She consoled me by saying that the plant might still survive and used a bigger clip to support it. The injured seedling never revived. It grew weaker and weaker and finally withered.

The dying seedling and the four "newborns".

We decided to plant the rest of the seeds which I had saved. Three days later, I came home to a pleasant surprise. There were four seedlings in my little pot! These included the two seeds I had planted earlier but had not sprouted then.

I was hopeful again and watered them diligently every day. The seedlings grew taller and stronger with bigger leaves. One afternoon, I saw a beetle munching on one of the leaves and shooed it away. From then on, I was always on the watch for "invaders". I was also careful to place the pot where it could get more sunlight in the balcony.

The leaves after a beetle munched on them.

Then disaster struck one day. I forgot to water my plants before leaving for school in the morning. On top of that, the weather changed. It was suddenly very hot and the sun was scorching. (Before that, we had weeks of cool weather and very little sun.)That afternoon, I returned home late after CCA to find all my four plants yellow and drooping. I burst into tears. Mum couldn't believe it when I called to tell her. "But they were growing so well and looking so good just this morning!" she exclaimed in disbelief.

The seedlings could not be revived no matter what we did. I could not understand why or how it happened. It was like a storm had blown over my tiny little garden pot and taken everything with it. Mum asked me, "Do you think it is very difficult to grow a plant?" I said, "Yes." But then, how can there be so many trees and plants growing so well everywhere around us? There must be a way!

I am determined to find out how to grow strong and healthy plants. Mum promised to buy me some more seeds and this time, I'll make sure I get to see the sunflowers bloom.

By Nickolas Yip
Nickolas is a 10-year-old student who received a potting kit as part of National Parks Board's Every Child a Seed project. The aim of the project is to convey to students that every Singaporean plays a part in shaping our City in a Garden. It has been tailored to complement the Primary 3 Science syllabus on Diversity and will teach students about the life cycle of a plant, plant parts and their functions. It will also reinforce the values of care and responsibility. Videos are available online for students who need help.

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