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Letís Plant Flowers, not Weeds

Our thoughts and words can be like flowers and weeds

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To compare gardening with our thoughts: both need care and nurture.

Preparation and materials

  • Optional: for the ‘Assembly’, Step 2, you may wish to prearrange for a staff member who is a keen gardener, or the person who looks after the school grounds, to talk to the children briefly about the kind of gardening jobs they do during the year.
  • Have available some packets of seeds or some images of seeds and the means to display them during the assembly. Examples could include:

    - a colourful array of seeds, available at:
    - some packets of seeds, available at:
  • Optional: you may wish to display the poem in the ‘Assembly’, Step 6, in which case you will also need the means to do so.
  • You will need to have the words ‘Flowers’ and ‘Weeds’ displayed, perhaps on a flip chart or a whiteboard. You will also need to have the following statements written out, ready to be stuck under these headings.

    - Ben’s story was brilliant.
    - Mum will never know if I take that biscuit.
    - I dont like it when Karen wants to join in.
    - Why should I do what the teacher says?
    - You look lost. Can I help?
    - You did very well!
    - Neils cartwheel was definitely the best.
    - Ill give Mum a hand this morning.
    - I dont care if shes upset, it serves her right.
    - I am going to try to do good writing today.


  1. Ask some of the children to share their observations of gardens in February.

    - What does the ground look like?
    - What is lying on the ground?
    - What is growing?
    - Which animals come to the garden?

  2. Explain to the children that keen gardeners have tasks to do in every month of the year. Of course, some months are busier than others.

    Optional: you may wish to interview a staff member who is a keen gardener, or the person who looks after the school grounds.

  3. Some common gardening tasks for February are:

    – pruning leafless trees and shrubs
    – weeding and tending the winter vegetable garden
    – making sure that cuttings dont dry out
    – removing dead trees, shrubs, branches and twigs
    – repairing and sharpening tools
    – keeping cold-sensitive potted plants in protected areas
    – repairing fences

    Explain that the soil is usually too wet and cold for much digging at this time of year.

  4. Show the packets of seeds or images of seeds.

    February is the time of year when the hard-working gardener can sit down with a cup of coffee and plan what seeds to buy for the coming year. Planning a beautiful garden is great fun.

    Ask some of the children what they might choose to plant in their garden.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  5. Next, say something like this: ‘I might need some alyssum for the rockery and Ill need to sow some geraniums for the tubs. Theres a space by the back wall between the delphiniums and the daisies for something and I need some more lupin seeds this year. I think I could do with a few packets of weeds, too!’

    Ask the children whether they agree that it would be good to plant some weeds. They will hopefully respond that weeds would spoil the garden.

  6. Read out the following poem.

    Your mind is a garden,
    Your thoughts are the seeds.
    The harvest can be either flowers or weeds.

  7. Ask the children what they think the poem might mean.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  8. Explain that our thoughts and words can be like flowers and weeds. We can use our words to plant beautiful things into other people’s lives, just like beautiful flowers growing in a garden. Alternatively, we can use our words to say things that make people feel bad. These bad words and thoughts can grow like weeds, hurting people and messing up their lives, just like a garden overgrown with weeds.

  9. Show the words ‘Flowers’ and ‘Weeds’ on the flip chart or whiteboard and the pile of statements ready to be stuck on.

    Ask for some volunteers to help you to sort flower thoughts from weed thoughts and stick them under the ‘Flowers’ or ‘Weeds’ headings.

Time for reflection

Encourage the children to sit quietly and listen to how the Bible says this in a slightly different way.

‘Finally, [children], whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.’ (Philippians 4.8)

Read the words of the poem in the ‘Assembly’, Step 6, and the words from the Bible again, encouraging the children to reflect on their meaning.

Pause to allow time for thought.

Dear God,
Help us to be careful what we think.
Please help us to be careful about the words that we use.
Please help us to plant ‘flowers’ in other people’s lives.
May we be encouragers.
May we bring hope and light.

Publication date: February 2020   (Vol.22 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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