Conn. (WTNH) — A simple act of planting flowers became a bonding moment for Dr. William Petit and his youngest daughter Michaela.
Michaela’s garden project, born out of love keeps her memory alive. The seed was planted, both literally and figuratively when Michaela was a little girl. A father and daughter planting Four O’Clocks at their Cheshire home.
“I always say ‘you can be two and do it, you can be 92 and do it,'” said Dr. Petit
Then, everything went terribly wrong. Michaela, her older sister, Haley, and their mother, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, died tragically in 2007 in their home during a violent home invasion. Later, Dr. Petit retrieved the flowers in Michaels’s memory.
The Four O’Clocks, are available this Friday and Saturday outside the Petit Family Foundation at 32 Whiting Street in Plainville.
The plants come from seeds from the garden. You are asked to harvest your seeds and bring them back to keep the cycle of Michaela’s Garden ongoing.
“We ask people to collect them,” Petit said. “We’ve collected seeds from 2007 from the plants we rescued from the garden in 2007, and cultivated in 2008 and 2009.”
He went on to say that every year they collect 150,000 to 200,000 seeds. The proceeds are used to educate people, especially young women, in the sciences, to improve the lives of the sick, and support efforts to protect those affected by violence.
“Lincoln School comes down and plants a little triangle there. We have them on the rooftop of the Science Center. We have them all the way in Killingly, in a garden down on the shoreline in Saybrook and Westbrook,” Dr. Petit explained.
The plants are grown by agriculture students from around the state. The Four O’Clock is the first official children’s state flower and available in time for Mother’s Day.