A remarkably multi-faceted theme today! Circles, shaded squares, grid shape, and thematic content all contribute to the puzzle's a veritable smorgasbord of theme material. We have four herbs, DILL, CHIVES, MINT, and SAGE appearing in shaded squares, each "growing" up from a POT formed by black squares filled with the circled letters S E E D. And if that's not enough, the whole is, topped, front and center, by the SUN. Beautiful. Maybe there's even a little bonus theme material with an UPSY-daisy sprouting off to the side?
Other excellent entries spice up the rest of the grid. "Apple cores, for short" (CPUS) is a very good clue. I enjoyed seeing LOTTE Lenya of old "Mack the Knife" fame, although she was probably known for something else before that song was written. All the long down answers are very good, with PECCADILLOES probably being my favorite, although I do enjoy an ALPINELODGE when I can get one. Also, how weird looking an entry is EMUEGG?
I am anticipating an entirely different kind of GROWTHPOTENTIAL for myself tomorrow as I over indulge in all sorts of deliciousness. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!