'That's so cool', was exclaimed by the teenager as she opened the horse chestnut capsule to find the seed, or 'conkers' as they are often referred to, inside. She spent some moments examining them remarking about their texture and weight.
As we searched the ground for more, we had some discussion on what uses they might have, from children playing with them to being down as seed, and even eaten in some places (once they're treated properly).
I didn't go on to bore her with lots of horticultural knowledge about the plants, growing them, etc. Instead, I simply suggested we'll sow some of them over the weekend to grow some trees of our own.
Of course this wasn't her first introduction to these. As a child she did all the usual school activities and of course having me as a father meant plenty of expeditions on walks, or into woods. The difference now though, is this is teenager showing her own interest.
For me, getting the next generation interested in horticulture and gardening isn't about pushing it at them and saying they have to. It's availing of opportunities to open the doors of knowledge and know-how. Sometimes they walk through the door curious to find out more. Sometimes they don't, and that's okay too. I think our role, as gardeners and horticulturalists, is to cultivate the interest people show, at what ever level (and age) they're at.
Yesterday evening pictures of the seeds were distributed on Facebook, SnapChart, etc. At one point there was a comment about 'you're Dad is so cool'.
Yup, I sure am ... Lol