“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” – Lao Tzu
This morning I have been waiting… The Drama Queen had a check up at the hospital, she’s on the mend and all appears OK finally! But as seems to be the drill, we had to play the waiting game. First there was the waiting in traffic (I now know why I avoid peak hour driving as much as possible). Then the waiting for the doctors. If I had have known we were going to be there for over an hour and a half I might have come a little better prepared.
I’m generally a patient kind of soul. Not in too much of a rush, and know that sometimes good things might take a little bit of time. Good things come to those who wait, patience is a virtue… you know the sayings…
But sitting around with two munchkins who haven’t quite worked out how to play the patience game proved to be a little more fun than I needed. I found myself explaining to the Drama Queen about patience and how if you wait you might get something even better than what you had. In her 4 year old mind this was a difficult concept to grasp, so I tried a few analogies. Her favourite was the cake analogy. That the finished cake is better than the batter, and that you have to be patient while the cake bakes. The downside (or is it an up?) is that we may be making cup cakes this afternoon!
Creating your own garden is the ultimate lesson in patience. It is rare that your ultimate vision will be realised instantly. In the words of the great English garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll:-
“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.”
Every garden should be a growing and changing work of art. While you set out with an ideal design and a superb vision, through the sheer organic nature of your primary design medium (your plants) you will need to find patience and trust to let it grow the way it needs to and to help it find it’s way to your ultimate dream garden.
I love the waiting that comes with designing and creating gardens. I love patiently waiting for seeds to propagate, and the will they, won’t they anticipation that this brings. Keeping track, year after year of how trees are growing and developing and changing the view and environment around them fills me with a sense of pride. I have designed a lot of public spaces, and visiting these areas five, ten or fifteen years after they were built and planted always fills me with a small sense of awe, knowing that I had a little part in the creation and transformation of this landscape.
When you plant your seedlings, your baby trees and the tiny little plants that will ultimately deliver your dream garden remember to throw a little pinch of patience in there with them, and just watch and wait.
As patient and virtuous as I like to think I am, I can’t help but agree with the Iron Lady. In the words of Margaret Thatcher:-
“I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.”