Monday, July 7, 2014

The Garden Teaches Patience

Regale Lily
Photo Taken in a year the chipmunks didn't eat the three buds.
Copyright Lorraine Syratt 
I am a very impatient person with some things, a trait inherited from my dear father who is gone from us now. And like my father, I have no qualms about planting a tree, taking a rose cutting, or growing a pine or anything else from seed. In the garden, I usually only have impatience when tools go astray, or I discover a leak in the watering can, or when a chipmunk nips the flower buds off my one and only Regale lily, finds their taste wanting and promptly discards them. Sods! My father would have called them sods as well.

Barring anything that upsets the balance between the garden and garden maker, there is only abundance, grace, peace and patience. As gardeners, we accept the garden's ever-changing and ever-evolving cycles ... its slow growth. We are on a long journey with our gardens. They teach us patience from the time we first take up our spades. 

Each new growing season brings more splendor. The three-foot tall trees planted a decade ago are now 20 feet tall. The climbing roses reach over the balcony railing. The self-seeders have self-seeded in all the right places. The cedar hedges started at 12 inches are now 10 feet tall. The garden we imagined, designed on paper and planted out years earlier slowly awakens and we begin to believe it has always been this way; it becomes what we hoped it would become.

Patience is one of many virtues I aspire to possess, but unlike the great oak, our lives are short. As gardeners, we want to get the best out of all that love and nurturing we do with our gardens. We can only watch things refuse to grow for so long. Sometimes we have to remove plants that have no chance of succeeding; they grow ugly to their core, hither and yonning in every direction. They tease us with one surprising bloom and quickly snatch it away, or their blooms refuse to open and they wilt and wither on their stems. We try to keep them alive, always patient, always hopeful. But when they continue to fail us, they have no place in our gardens. We have to prune them out for the health and well-being of the other plants, as well as the garden's beauty. The garden teaches us patience, but it also teaches us when to let go. And when we do let go, there is only harmony in the garden, as well that peace, abundance and grace.

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