Michaela’s garden grows to benefit family foundation
By Robin Lee Michel
The Plainville CitizenMichaela Petit’s favorite flowers,Four O’Clocks, live on and are abun-dantly growing, now to fund the PetitFamily Foundation.
Three years ago, the colorfulperennials were dug up outside
thePetits’ torched house in
The girls’ uncle, Dennis Chapman,of
Chapman, who is married to Dr.Petit’s sister, Johanna Petit Chap-man, planted them in hisown yard that August not ex-pecting them to take to thetransplant. “I figured it waslucky if they survived,” hesaid. When fall came, he col-lected seeds and plantedthem the following spring.Soon his driveway was linedwith the plants.
He had the thought to con-tinue with the propagation ofhis niece’s flowers by collect-ing the large seeds and sell-ing them to benefit the PetitFamily Foundation whosemission is to “foster the edu-cation of young people, espe-cially women in the sciences;to improve the lives of thoseaffected by chronic illnesses;and to support efforts to pro-tect and help those affectedby violence,” according to thefoundation website www.pe-titfamilyfoundation.org . Thefoundation board of direc-tors were all in favor of theidea, Chapman said.
Last year, he provided sev-eral Scout troops with seedsto
sell for a fundraiser to ben-efit them and the Petit Fami-ly Foundation. Several
This fall, Cub Scout Pack49, led by Greg Karal, came tothe Chapman home to helpcollect the seeds. In all, morethan 100,000 seeds were har-vested.
On Monday, approximately50 volunteers reported to
Gertrude Ahlgren sat at atable counting out 25 seedsand
arranging them in piles.Other people put them in en-velopes and sealed the
pack-ets. Ahlgren, of
Joyce Cannon, who for-merly lived in
arella was one ofthe few men who turned outfor the project. With his wife,Mary, they volunteered “be-cause we think it’s worth it,”he whispered because he hadlost his voice.
The session was scheduledto end at 3 p.m., however, thebusy volunteers accom-plished the project well be-fore that time. Chapman saida second session could possi-bly be held in the spring afterhe washes more seeds and or-ganizes supplies.
The seeds are being soldfor $10 per packet in
variousbusinesses. For now, the bestlocation in which to purchasethem is at the
foundation of-fice at
“Next year, our goal is 1million seeds. That’s whatI’m trying for,” Chapmansaid. “If we sell 80 percent,that is $350,000 to $400,000 forthe foundation.”
The seeds will not be soldon the foundation website un-til 1 million are collected, hesaid. Chapman vows that noother Four O’Clock seeds willbe sold; they must be fromMichaela’s flowers.