The Virtue of Patience

The other day while working in my garden it occurred to me gardeners and their gardening theories vary widely. The bulk of some gardeners work consists of annuals. Maybe they have a small yard or simply a patio to garden in, but for whatever reason they invest in annuals. In the fall their beds are filled with pansies and in the spring they replace the tired pansies with impatience. Annuals are rather easy, you go to Wal-Mart and pick up a tray or two, put them in the correct place, water them regularly, and you have color for several months. The benefit of annuals is that they provide good color and they indeed easier.

Other gardeners major on perennials. These, unlike annuals, which only bloom for one season, return year after year. Black-eyed Susan’s and Verbena fight off the winter cold and break forth each spring with new growth. Perennials upside is they return year after year. Yet to build a garden with perennials you will be spending more money and time.

Each of these gardens begins somewhere else. We are only inheriting someone else’s work. We go to Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, or the nursery and we return with hosta or petunias. We prepare ground, dig a hole, plant, fertilize, and water. Our garden is open for business.

There is another type of gardening. It doesn’t begin with plants from Home Depot, it starts with seeds. Yes, seeds. Gardening with seeds is demanding, and sometimes it fails. Sometimes the frail seeds don’t germinate, other times the soil is not right. It’s risky business to start with seeds.

I decided shortly after moving into our home that I was going to plant some wild flowers. I had this woodland area that was perfect for a woodland blend of wild flowers seed. I found the mixture I wanted to plant and I followed the directions. I knew there would be no immediate color. I knew for a while this area would look under developed. I knew my neighbor’s yard full of  impatience and columbine would out shine my yard. I knew the instructions warned that it would be over 300 days before I saw the fruit of my afternoons labor. Three hundred days is a long time, it’s long enough to forget what you planted. A week ago I was putting some pine straw down around these yellow bells and something in the backyard caught my eye. I looked twice and you know what I saw? A wild flower, not just one but also the beginnings of 80-100. Then I remembered.

A common vice is that we want everything yesterday. In our lives most of us plant annuals, looking for immediate color and with as little fuss as possible. Some our willing to plant perennials and live with small inconveniences so that we can save money down the road. Yet few of us, are willing to plant seeds. Too much risk and too long to wait. However there is no greater thrill than watching the seed you planted turn into a beautiful flower.

Being in a hurry cannot be beneficial. Wait and your reward will come  Don’t worry about immediate satisfaction but be concerned with long-term results. Plant your seeds and then get busy with life. While your tending to the daily affairs your seeds will be working and growing and one day you will look up and your garden will be in bloom, all because you were willing to wait.

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