Embrace Patience For A Happier Life

What is the most important ingredient for creating a garden?

Is it the sunlight necessary for plants to grow or the plants themselves?

Is it the water needed for all life or is it the soil?

Or is it patience?

Patience? Yes, that’s it! I believe the most important ingredient for creating a garden is patience.

It takes patience to wait through the winter for spring to arrive and bring the garden back to life,

… to sow a seed and wait for it to germinate,

… to watch a bloom become a ripe, sun-warmed tomato,

… to plant a tree you can carry in one hand and watch it grow enough to provide a shady spot to rest under,

… to know where in the garden the shade is dappled and where the sun is brightest,

… to pile up the debris of the garden and then harvest it as rich compost.

It takes patience to garden successfully, to create a lasting garden. There is often as much time spent patiently waiting in a garden, as there is time spent actually gardening to create the garden.

Once I figured this out, that a good dose of patience is needed in the garden, gardening became a lot easier. I embrace patience and accept that gardening is a process that isn't easily hurried along.

I recommend that if anyone is going to do this gardening thing for the long haul, for life, they should embrace patience, too, for a happier life in the garden.

(Pictured above is “Tower Pink” columbine (Aquilegia sp.) as it blooms once again in my garden. I patiently started these double columbines from seed back in 2001, and they’ve been blooming in my garden every spring since then. A reward for embracing patience!)


Gardening has taught me patience, which was a much needed lesson. I waited 4 years for my Trillium Grandiflorum to bloom, and I'm glad I was patient with my Actaea/Cimicifugas. They were worth the wait.
I've never grown double Columbines. Yours are very pretty.
This columbine is worth waiting for, it is gorgeous. Patience is a wonderful virtue. I have it sparingly. Gardening has taught me all the patience I have.
Anonymous said…
Carol~~ I hate to admit it but...well, okay, I guess, reluctantly I'll admit that you're right. Dead on in fact. I've never enjoyed being a student of patience but the older I get the more quickly time passes and I realize that waiting is not such a big deal. And when the plant in question does its thing, as your outstanding columbine so eloquently shows, it is well worth it.
Patsybell said…
Patience. I'm not good at it. Gardening is the exception. I'm much happier and more patient in the garden.Your columbine is an excellent illustration. Well said, Carol.
Marie said…
Ah, patience. It’s been raining here for the last 3 days. The garden chores are piling up. If it doesn’t stop raining today, I may have to dust the furniture!
Unknown said…
Patience is a necessity I wish I had more! When I propagate plants I get the urge to check for roots, when I do that sometimes I slow down or completely stop the process all together. Patience is very good to have!
Carol — I think you've said it all! Gardening certainly teaches patience as few other things can, because there is so little we can do to speed up the process. Our most patient plant experience here are our trees — suddenly big enough to need pruning!
You're right on. Unfortunately I think patience is something that takes some of us a lot longer to learn. Hence the name of the blog!

That columbine is lovely!
Gail said…
My patience is being tried waiting for the sun to shine again! Thanks for the reminder that we have to embrace this wonderful quality if we are to garden happily. gail
Unknown said…
I agree!

I was getting pretty discouraged looking at all the beautiful pictures of gardens in blogland - thinking mine will never look like that. I'm new at this hobby.

But then I remembered that gardening is a life long process - so hopefully I have a long time to get my yard picture perfect!
For me, it's patience and acceptance, as nothing is ever quite what I had planned in our garden. Seems gardens have a mind of their own. :-)
Hi Carol, As I said in another comment, "Are we patient yet? Now? Now?!" Speaking of patience, I realized I was blogging largely to myself for over a year until you left a comment in my blog... ad slowly others came, too, until I became all connected with so many wonderful blogging friends. So I wanted to thank you so much for getting the ball rolling!
Unknown said…
I mentioned this post on my blog -

Thanks for the inspiration!
garden girl said…
Amen Carol! I learned this from a wonderful gardener and master of patience - my mom. I've never needed this quality as much in the garden as I have since moving here and gardening in the shade (and roots) of three huge maple trees.
Carol, you are so right. You cannot hurry the ripening of the tomato, using compost before it is ready will only provide you with a whole bunch of weeds to pull out, etc. Gardening gives the appreciation of the order of things, the stately progression from seed to fruit.
Susan said…
I love your advice thanks for sharing!
marmee said…
those columbines's are absolutely amazing...i have never seen such a thing. i love planting from seed...i find it so rewarding...knowing you placed a tiny thing waiting for it to germinate...watching over it like a wee little one...following thru til maturity...wonderful...nice post.
Cindy, MCOK said…
Some days I embrace patience, some days I give it the cold shoulder! I'm working on having more of the former and fewer of the latter.
Kat Wolfdancer said…
AH, Thanks again, Carol! for reminding me why I garden. If patience is a virtue, God loves His Gardeners! In my garden is the only place I know where I am content with dirty hands, and dirty knees, and gentles breezes blowing through the jasmines of my mind. (Thanks to Seals & Crofts for THAT snatch of song!) Happy Gardening! as I await, patiently, for Mother's Day, to be able to plant my tomato starts, lovingly grown from seed, and all the wee seedling plantlets that I have lovingly grown for seed as well. Patience is Nurturing. Let it wash all over me!

Kat Wolfdancer said…
OH ! and PS! After four years, my fragrant viburnum (Viburnum carlcephalum) that I pruned hard in Spring that first year (FOOLISH me!) and again the next has now, nice and shapely anyway, embraced its' blossomness! It is LOADED with fat budding snowballs of what will undoubtably be delightfully yummy as the summer breezes float into my bedroom and living room. Last year, it was an untimely year for blossoms.. THIS year, it seems to be just loaded. I am so glad I was patient with it!

Rock rose said…
That is the prettiest columbine I have ever seen. Must look out for the seeds. The garden is about to test our patience-with summer in full swing we gardeners in Texas will be patiently waiting for fall!
So very true! What a great post! --Jackie