Wednesday Vignette – patient anticipation

One of my favorite things about being a gardener is that there is always something to look forward to. If you just planted something new, you look forward to seeing it take root, establish itself, and grow into its full glory. If you’ve seen an exciting plant performance in the past, you count the weeks and months until it does it again.

Gardening supposedly teaches you to be patient, but I can’t swear that I’m all that virtuous in my waiting – meaning that I don’t suffer gracefully as I watch the infernal pot not boil. And sometimes, if I miss it completely, or if the awaited event itself is of a briefer variety (yes, I’m looking at you, Molly the Witch!) I – more or less patiently – am forced to wait another year.

These temporal cycles of wait, want, and anticipation are something we, as a society, are no longer used to have to endure. Instant gratification is generally the rule, as in “see it, want it, get it”. That’s one of the big lessons in gardening; You can’t hurry Nature. She will always take the time she needs, and let you know when she’s ready – whether you yourself are ready, or not.


At Joy Creek, one of my favorite garden vignettes ever, materialized this week. The Agave neomexicana planted with the matchy-matchy little buckwheat groundcover look fantastic year round, but this week, the buckwheat burst into bloom. And suddenly, all is right in my world. Without exception, this combo brings a smile to my face.

I have mentioned before how nursery sales are through the roof because of the pandemic. As the weeks go by with no perceivable break in the record ordering, our inventory is dwindling. Today, I lost count of how many times I wrote ‘SOLD OUT’ or ‘NEW CROP IN FALL’ on my pull sheet for shipping. We’re propagating like mad, but beyond that, and caring for the new babies, there is precious little we can do. It takes time for roots to grow, and for buds to develop. Instant gratification does not apply. It will be really interesting to watch how novice gardeners deal with adjusting to this fact. The pandemic has made time slow down, and forced some reflection for many of us. It’s probably a vain hope, but I wish we – as a specie – grab a hold of this new reality and roll with it; good things are worth waiting for.  I think it would do our world a lot of good.

About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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19 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – patient anticipation

  1. Pauline says:

    I totally agree, slowing down has done us and the world a power of good, long may it continue!

    • annamadeit says:

      I think it has done some good, indeed, but it has been a hard adjustment for many. I just hope that moving forward, a slower, more aware and deliberate mode of living will somehow become part of public policy and expectation. We need to somehow strive to incorporate this into a functioning economy, based on sustenance rather than ever-increasing profits.

  2. Tina says:

    That is a gorgeous combo! For how long will the buckwheat bloom?

    You’re so right that gardening teaches patience, and I think also, planning. I hope these lessons of patience take hold in the larger contexts, especially here in the States. Glad your nursery is so busy; our local nurseries are the same.

    Here’s my silly WV and and thanks for hosting.

    • annamadeit says:

      You know, I know it blooms for weeks and weeks, but I can’t remember exactly. As they age, the blooms take on more of an orange tone, but they remain for a long time. I’ll have to get back to you on exactly how long. Yeah, for as abruptly as the rodent wheel ground to a halt, I hope it will move considerably slower for most of us when it starts back up again. I for one, have appreciated the extra time for thought and reflection.

  3. bergstromskan says:

    How lovely, Peace is moving into my heart reading this. Beautiful picture also, thank you Anna

  4. Such a potent point about patience which is having to be relearned across the board

    • annamadeit says:

      We gardeners have already learned it pretty well, I think. (Although, as mentioned, I’m not always the most patient…) Anyway, I’m excited to see potential new gardeners join us, as they embark on their individual gardening journey. 🙂

  5. Kris Peterson says:

    A beautiful combination indeed! I introduced what I suspect is the same yellow-flowered buckwheat in my garden recently (after killing it years ago due to inattention) and it’s produced its first flowers. Based on your example, I may add some in my succulent areas one day as well. I hope that the sudden interest in gardening doesn’t fade when the pandemic eventually loses its hold on us, as it will someday. I think gardening – the planting, the tending and the appreciating – makes us better people, more respectful of our earth. Thanks for hosting WV, Anna! Here’s my post:

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh, Kris – you need to try it again! I know it would look great in your fabulous garden… And yes, on the sudden interest. I really, really hope it’s here to stay!

  6. Well you surely know that particular vignette is one of my favorites at JC, no matter the time of year! Thanks for the updated look. I posted for WV but then policed myself and went back and removed the WV label, as it wasn’t really a vignette at all. I vow to be better about actually staying true to the idea behind this meme.

  7. hb says:

    I’m pretty patient in the garden–let a rose languish for 10 years, until it finally decided to grow, but one must balance patience with the knowledge that our gardening careers are all too short, no matter how long they are.

    I’m patiently waiting for my Joy Creek Agapanthus ‘Sandringham’ to flower–six years on, still no flowers. Yes, it’s in full sun…Any tips? It may get a visit from the shovel soon.

    Sounds very hectic for you at work, but better busy than not, right? The day must fly by.

    • annamadeit says:

      That is so odd… I was under the impression that Agapanthus were crazy prolific in CA… I will ask Maurice when I see him next.

      It annoys me how short my gardening career will be. What was I doing for the first 40 years of my life??? I had no clue…

  8. Well, I’m certainly glad that plant nurseries are one type of business that has done well during the pandemic. They are providing a lot of stir-crazy people with welcome diversion, at the very least. As for patience, it’s a virtue that does not come easily to me.

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