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.