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  • Writer's pictureSophia Huang

Part 1: P is for pod, persistence and providence

I was looking to grow touch-me-nots or mimosas so I could show them to the kids during storytelling. In fact, mom was the one who bought two $2 pots from Daiso, cut some mimosa shoots and got the kids to stick them in with some soil.

The only problem was, that didn’t work. It probably can be transplanted, but the roots need to be intact. One Sunday I tried again and yanked out a few bunches of mimosas, flowers and all, cutting my fingers on the thorns repeatedly. What was I thinking? It’s a sensitive plant after all. All that shock was probably enough to kill it straight away. This obviously didn’t work once again.

I texted my friend Alf, who has green fingers: “How to grow a touch-me-not?” From seed, he said. As luck would have it, Alf had a tiny mimosa plant left and he said I could borrow it for storytelling! Yippee! My daughter named the plant Fluffy. I will come back to Fluffy later in part 2. The nursery didn’t have the seeds or plant — it’s a weed after all. On my friend’s advice, off I went hunting for the seeds. All I had was a picture of a green pod on my iphone. I knew where some clusters were around my place. At one particularly verdant cluster, I closed the leaves by blowing on them and found this underneath!

This is how the seed pod looks like. I was impatient and wanted to harvest it immediately so I plucked it off, only to find out from my botanical consultant that you won’t get ripe seeds like that. The pod has to be brown. Ah well. Undeterred, I wheeled my kid in the wagon to join his sister at the playground on the far side of the park connector. It pays to have a sharp eye. There I spied another cluster. It’s tough to search for something when you don’t know what you’re looking for, but then I combed the area and spotted this! When the plant is dead and drying out, that’s when the seeds are ripe for the picking.

You can see my fingers are all muddy from digging around in the dirt. It sounded easy finding the seeds, but this was the result of several hours over two days searching for them. Patience, persistence and providence, that’s what it took to find the pods. There are several parallels to my book journey. These three ingredients: time, hard work and a little blessing from above has gotten me this far in getting my first book contract, the books published, and much more. The journey has not been smooth-sailing, in fact, someone described it as a roller coaster ride — highs and lows. I’ve faced rejection, people who don’t value my craft, some who have even taken advantage of me and my time, and the difficulties of juggling everything all at once. But having patience, persistence and providence always pays off. From my Internet searches, I learnt that touch-me-nots actually thrive in poor soil. I want to be like a mimosa plant in these two ways. One, mess with me and you’ll get pricked by my thorns. Two, I want to survive and thrive in negative conditions. Be like a touch-me-not: tough, but so sensitive at heart.

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