Yes, this is probably an overused metaphor. But, I am thinking past the seed germinating and taking root analogy to my own personal experiences with gardening. I became interested in gardening several years ago and have tried a variety of approaches. I learned about gardening from internet research, reading books, talking to other gardeners, adapting some of my knowledge from studying restoration ecology and from practice. Each time I try something new (either a new plant or growing method) I try to get a baseline of knowledge, but then just kind of experiment to see what will work.
I think there are some crossovers with teaching. Teachers learn from a variety of sources, just as I have in my gardening efforts. In both cases I think some of the most valuable lessons come from talking to others and from experimenting.
I can learn specific information about how to make a cucumber plant grow and produce, but then I have to go and figure out how to make it work in my own yard. Teaching is the same, we can learn about how to teach students and ways we can provide the right conditions for their learning, but we have to figure out how to adapt it to our own personal situations (including the personal situations of our students).
Both teaching and gardening are hopeful endeavors for me too. In gardening you put a lot of initial resources in (working and nourishing the earth, watering, planting in an appropriate space for sun) and then you see if the techniques were successful. Some factors, like a late frost or other weather patterns are out of your hands.