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From Seed to Flower: Harper Sussin's California Poppies

The Pacific Elementary School first grader planted California Poppies from seed with the help of another Manhattan Beach resident, Jeanne Jackson. Now, the full-grown poppy bushes create a wave of orange abloom on Veterans Parkway.

Harper Sussin passes by her handiwork most every weekday as she walks to school.

Indeed, the California Poppies she and Veterans Parkway greenbelt restoration champion Jeanne Jackson planted months ago are now in full bloom.

For the Manhattan Beach first grader, experiencing the wonder of nature firsthand took root when a school assignment for a report on a community helper turned into a work of beauty.

Now, walkers on and passersby to Veterans Parkway near Walnut Avenue are greeted by Harper's seed planting, as the California Poppies she and Jackson planted from seed are blooming en masse.

Harper, Jackson and Harper's mom Christen Sussin met on Veterans Parkway one day when Jackson was at work on her restoration project. From there, a casual friendship ensued.

When Harper was given an assignment to write a report on a community helper, she chose Jackson.

"Jeanne helps the community by making it beautiful," wrote Harper. Harper even learned about "environmentally appropiate" plants from Jackson, who undertook a volunteer effort to restore the area, marked by dying trees and unkempt brush along its pathway. 

In Harper's report, it is written that "joy" is what Jackson likes about the job. Truth be known, Jackson hardly considers what she's done and continues to do to be work; her goal has been to make the community "beautiful."

Now, as a living example of how things grow, Harper's California Poppies have helped her witness life at its finest.

While meeting with Manhattan Beach Patch by her poppies, Harper heard from two Manhattan Beach residents, Barbara Allen and Bill Rollins, passing by with their dogs, saying how beautiful the planting was.

"I love it," said Allen.

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Jeanne Jackson April 28, 2012 at 02:00 PM
This is what the Greenbelt Project is all about, creating beauty and encouraging residents within the community to be a part of that process. Just look at Harper's sweet, proud face. Yes, I instigated it but firmly believe that the Greenbelt Project now has a life of its own. People of all ages, residents and non-residents, have responded to the joyful prospect of contributing. It is truly the heart and soul of the City. Soon a "Master Plan" will be developed and we will continue with this good work. In the mean time, we enjoy the fruits of our labor. I am so very grateful to be a part of this. Jeanne Jackson
Lynne Welch April 28, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Pictures and the story about Harper are a delight!
Julie April 30, 2012 at 04:36 AM
I love all stories about nature and Ms. Harper.

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