Cultivating patience in the garden is the ultimate lesson.
We learn that we have no choice but to wait for plants to grow in their own sweet time – no matter what we do.
Patience In The Garden Isn’t Easy
In today’s world, it’s not easy to be patient. We don’t like to wait.
We’ve created a world of quick mastery in which we can learn languages in a few days and grasp intricate practices like hypnosis in a weekend workshop.
The internet has fed into the belief that we can become experts in a chosen field overnight.
Mastery Is A Life Long Process
So much of what we are rewarded for today is based on productivity rather than on cultivating mastery.
Yet it’s the quiet process – the one that happens in private – that allows for deep learning and molds our character.
This type of process doesn’t happen quickly.
Zen practitioners spend their entire lives perfecting the art of the tea ceremony. Eastern philosophy understands that there is always another level.
So do seasoned gardeners.
True beauty must have depth and soul. It takes time to develop these qualities. And patience.
When I began my garden close to 30 years ago, my skills were limited. So was my landscaping budget. We barely had enough money for the down payment on our new home.
I started my garden with a $3.99 rose bush from the grocery store, $5. evergreens from Home Depot, plants from friends, and several packets of seeds.
To this day, the rose bush is one of my favorites out of 25+ specimens. I marvel at the evergreens from Home Depot that are now 30+ feet tall. The 6 Robinia pseudocacia ‘frisia’ - that are knock outs - arrived as 5′ sticks from Gossler Farms Nursery. I’ve written an article on the problems I’ve had with them.
Select small specimens so that you can observe and appreciate their journey to maturity
If someone gave me the option today of having mature trees, shrubs, and perennials planted in my garden from the get- go, I would turn them down flat.
So many people want large specimens so their garden can look completed instantaneously. But that just doesn’t feel like the natural order of things.
If something already arrives finished, you have no chance to really bond with it. It would be like adopting children when they were 18. You’d miss out on the entire growing up process
Remember, gardening is having meaningful involvement with some sort of plant life.
Observing Seeds Germinate and Baby Plants Grow
I’m into my 3rd season of creating an urban rooftop garden in Tel Aviv. My patience has been and continues to be tested in a garden that is tiny compared to what I had in my last garden.
I finally was able to find someone who actually understood what raised beds are. He built the 4 containers for my veggie garden that I wanted to be the next step in designing the back rooftop.
The garden is now planted up and my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds have taken off. Authentic Haven Brand Soil Conditioner Tea is part of the reason that I have a veggie garden that is thriving.
Already my patience has paid off with rambling vines, long runner beans, and green tomatoes ready to pop.
The act of gardening is very different from just having a garden.
When you watch your plants grow over the years, you see how the contours of your garden change as it matures. You begin to develop a keen eye for what it needs year by year. You add in and amend things gradually. You go on walkabouts – times to simply wander and lose yourself in the garden through observation.
Intimacy develops with the garden from seeing it at distinct times of the day. Filling in what is needed to give it life and breadth throughout different moments of sunlight, weather, seasons, and moods.
A garden has to go through a few cycles before it will reveal what else it requires. It needs a gardener who is willing to give it a chance to grow into itself.
There Is Meaning In Creating A Garden With Patience
A garden planted with patience can, over the years, become a road map of your life. You will remember when you did this over here, or that over there.
It is the stages of your life in full bloom. The memories are all there for you to pore over like a well-thumbed scrapbook.
All you have to do is to dig up the soil, nestle each plant into its new home, tend to it, feel gratitude – and be patient.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. Share your experience of needing patience in or out of the garden.