“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.”
― Lewis Carroll.
I’m reminded of the virtue of patience every day in my tiny garden. No sooner than one long-awaited shoot or bud appears than I’m looking with anticipation for the next, a sobering exercise for one who finds delaying gratification challenging.
These past weeks I have watched with anticipation as my garden awakens from its winter slumber. The Hippeastrum Papilio I bought at the local farmers’ market last year sent up two flower buds and burst forth into something quite special. The bulbs from Aldi Supermarket haven’t disappointed either with a three out of four strike rate; it’s always risky buying plants from a supermarket. Thus far the shoots are looking promising and I’m expecting Oriental Lilies- three buds from each bulb – to make a spectacular entrance any day now.
But gardening isn’t always a bed of roses. The rose cuttings given to me by a green-thumbed buddy have failed to thrive despite doing everything I thought would give me results. I have long coveted this particular rose (name unknown), especially for the fact it grows virtually right next to the ocean. It’s also blessed with the most heavenly perfume, an attribute so lacking in many modern varieties. So you see I wasn’t impressed when after dunking the cuttings in honey, pressing them into beautiful worm-casting-enriched soil, then hovering over them waiting for some sign of botanical gratitude, they failed to oblige (I don’t hold you responsible dear friend!).
But in some ways it’s not the successes I have in the garden that define me as a gardener, but rather, the ‘failures’. When plants confound my expectations I’ve been spurred on to understand why; to do better next time. The failures make me appreciate how much I’m learning, not just about gardening, but about myself.
Which brings me back to the thorny subject of patience and my quest to develop more of it. Just one more week before the garden competition winners are announced – not that I’m counting.
“Everything is funny, if you can laugh at it.”
― Lewis Carroll