On gardening and patience

Macademia tree flowering

Patience is one of the greatest lessons working with plants and gardening has had to offer me. It is a lesson I don’t particularly enjoy. I am, by anyone’s standard, not a patient man (just ask my poor wife!).
It’s not that I am in need of instant gratification for everything I do in the garden (come on you tomatoes grow some damn fruit, I planted you last week for freakin sakes, what’s the hold-up?!).
Nor am I ignorant to the wisdom of great thinkers and prophets: “All things come to one of patience”.
It’s just something about linear time that bugs me. Nature and life in general works in circles, it’s all cyclical. So time, it seems to me, should be so too!
No waiting, it’s all here now.
Oh, and while we’re on that topic; yes I do find gardening to be a meditative experience, (when I’m not waiting!) at times even a quasi-spiritual experience.
But I am sick to death of hearing about the “ZEN” of gardening or anything else for that matter! One dang book about life and motorcycle maintenance (a great book by the way) and EVERYTHING has to be the ZEN of something!
I have nothing against zen if you’re a Buddhist! (I am by the way a practicing Buddhist, but not zen.) Okay, sorry, let me get back on my rails. So now then as I was saying; patience, time, and gardening.
Well, the way these three work out the best for me is when I do something in the garden such as planting something, and then forget about it, shifting my attention to other projects. By forgetting about it (except to occasionally remember to water the poor bugger) I also am able to sever any expectations about its performance. When I can do this (rarely) I can be rewarded with a happy surprise when I come upon it again unexpectedly to see it in some full glory of maturity or fruitfulness!
Or I can be riddled with guilt and remorse as I find it starved and dehydrated because, well yeah, I forgot about it.
Some fifteen years ago while on a trip to San Diego I went to a nursery and purchased this tree, Macadamia integrifolia.I received some ridicule and doubt from my fellow gardeners when I boasted of my newly planted find because where I live is outside the normal hardiness range (USDA 10-11) for these trees.
So perhaps to avoid the shame of failure I managed to pretty much forget about it except to occasionally check in, surprised to see it survived another winter and perhaps to give it a drink of water.More years passed and then this year, voila! Our Macadamia is flowering!
I would love to at this point make some sort of statement about how back then when I planted it I just “knew” that climate change was gonna be a thing and therefore my foresight has finally paid off! Yeah, no.
Who knows maybe it will even set nuts this year too?! Now if it would just hurry up!

Macademia flowering

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