Delaying Gratification

“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

The Hippeastrum - Papilio in bud

The Hippeastrum – Papilio in bud

Hippeastrum Papilio bud opening

Hippeastrum Papilio bud opening

Hippeastrum Paplio flowers

Hippeastrum Paplio flowers

19 responses to “Delaying Gratification

  1. That’s like much of life, I guess. Our successes bring us joy but it’s our failures that help us to grow and improve. They also teach us humility, which is why it’s important for everyone to fail a little sometimes. (Incidentally, I’m very humble.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I may have identified this rose. Friends of mine believe it to be a Hybrid Tea, Exhibition name: Peace, apparently very hardy. We must rectify your failure with the cuttings – I see more coming your way.
    Your love of gardening and writing is an inspiration.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ha ha! You are revealed and claim your place. Magnificent! I wonder about the rose being Peace however. I used to grow that particular rose in Victoria and remember it as a much fuller rose when open. But that was a long time ago. The colours are very similar.
      I would love to have another go at some cuttings – thanks. And thanks to for the kind words. We share wonderful gardening passions in common.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The Hippeastrum’s are beautiful. I love the surprise as they pop up each year and colour our gardens. I also think they have a pretty cool name: it sort of rolls off the tongue easily… sounding so free, interesting and mildly complicated.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve already won the competition in my book. I thought the rose was Peace, also. There is another variation of it, called Chicago Peace (probably even more variations exist) Have you tried burying banana peels around the roots? Roses really love potassium, and this has helped mine. And garlic, too. There is a book on companion gardening called “Roses Love Garlic” . If I lived near you, I would bring it over. Have a lovely day, Robyn. I’ll check in again soon. Clare

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s interesting you identify the rose as Peace, Clare. My friends think it is too.
      I haven’t tried the banana peels. But if my cuttings are viable I certainly will.
      My sister used companion planting and she loaned me a book on the concept. I trialled a number of plantings successfully and have used it on and off since. Thank you for the great advice Clare, and for your interest.

      Liked by 2 people

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