He’s got shoulders like a mountain and a smile like a sunny day,
The patience of a gardener and the will to find a way.
A mind that’s strong and steady and a heart that’s good and true
He’s a pretty good man if you ask me.
That’s the first verse of my of my favourite songs, sung by Buffy Sainte-Marie.
Another reference to patience and gardeners is in the name of a blog I sometimes visit: The Patient Gardener.
And in my last post Shady Gardener commented that gardening is by its nature one of slow growth and patience.
Am I a patient gardener?
I do buy already growing plants as well as seeds, but I buy them small and don’t water or fertilize. My garden project so far has been going for about 30 years and it’s still evolving.
This autumn there were many dried up miserable looking plants in the garden that I was sure were dead. I dug some of them up. It was painful to see them because they reminded me of the quite traumatic summer they and I have just endured. But now I realize they’re weren’t dead. They kind of went into hibernation and by now they would be wondrously sprouting tiny green shoots. But I was too impatient to wait till we got right into autumn.
I’m thinking of the relationship between patience and ignorance. My plants and I never experienced anything like that burning heat, day after day without a break. I didn’t know what they could withstand.
This is what I have learned and now know:
1.I lost plants that were not well established so from now on I must try to get them in and established well before summer.
2.I lost plants that didn’t have enough shade so I need to plant more shade trees and shrubs.
3.I lost plants that I pruned too hard before the weather cooled down. The burned leaves provided shade to those lower down so I need to leave them until the strong summer heat is over, even if they look pathetic. (This depends on whether my aim is survival or summer beauty, which I need to think about).
4.Many beautiful favourites of mine are really really tough. Here are a few of my favourites that have triumphed.
Erigeron - looked like a few dead sticks, but gradually green is appearing
Osteospermum ecklonis - thriving on neglect
Cistus - cut back hard a few weeks ago - already re-shooting
Salvia greggii -formerly a bit shrivelled but what a comeback!
So I do need more patience, but being patient is much easier if I know and can then imagine that those dried out miserable looking specimens really will re-shoot again in the autumn and come back as green and healthy and lovely as ever.
about this blog
I started this blog in 2008. It started mainly as a way of tracking the evolution of my dry garden, and that led to an interest in photography and in the creatures that live in the garden. It's still about the garden and wildlife, but now my passion is thinking about how we humans can learn to co-exist with wild animals and plants, especially in urban areas.
This is the photo of my garden in the current guide to Australia's open gardens. It was taken last October. The foreground f...
I have decided to make a list of the plants in my garden. For too long I haven’t really respected them as individuals, vaguely seeing them ...
It's been a long time between posts, and I don't know when the next one will happen. Non virtual life is currently very busy. ...
You don’t have to go to the countryside to get a nature fix. Wherever I go I look for plants and animals. Just like rural spaces...
Reading this book made me think the blog is really just a way of helping me work out how to get closer to the plants and wildlife in the...
One way of welcoming insects to the garden is to make or buy a special insect house. It provides a place where insects can go when i...
This morning I shook out Potter's rug, as I often do. It is kept on an outdoor seat where the dog likes to sit and wait for us w...
Growing in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne are 4 interesting trees. Of course there are many MANY more than these! These are ju...
If it's geographically possible, try to visit the Art Gallery of Ballarat before December 2nd. That's when the exhibition C...
I don't mind English violets covering the soil, even though I wish they were native violets. I don't mind Euphorbia characis ...