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Patience: I Plant; God Decides.

“If you’re not killing plants, you’re not growing as a gardener.”

A gardener quoted in my local newspaper.

Patience. It’s so hard to have at this time of year in the Sacramento valley. It’s hotter than Hades, and, if you’re like me and you’ve been slowly working on making a garden out of quintessential south Sacramento valley soil – a big plot of clay and weeds -- it’s easy to be impatient when you see everyone else’s impatiens and other plants in bloom.

Patience. It’s the mantra of the novice gardener. Really, it’s the mantra of life.

I’m trying not to spend too much money on this garden, since I’m only renting this big plot of clay soil and weeds. The last time I spent substantial sums to put in a garden in a rental (which some would say is, by itself, a sign of insanity), I received a 60-day notice to quit a few days after my plants were in the ground. But my efforts to save money have lead to even more frustration – the seeds I tried to start in my home office were overtaken by mold, and the sweet broom, Spanish lavender and pink jasmine I transplanted from my brother’s house (he no longer wanted them) have pretty much up and died. Only the butterfly iris I transplanted from his house have seemed to survive.

I planted cheap gladiolus bulbs from the Dollar Tree in corners of my backyard, thinking that, hey, if they don’t grow, I’m only out a few dollars. Given my impatience and resulting inattentiveness, I’d pretty much given up on them. Oh well.

And they up and surprised me. Tender green shoots poked out where I had planted them, undaunted by the dead sweet broom plants that, had they lived, would have taken up too much space and blocked out the sun. I plant, God decides.

Isn’t that pretty much how life goes?

Emboldened by my undeserved success with the glads, I planted more of them yesterday. I even had the nerve to buy some roses that knocked me off my feet with their fragrance – Heirloom and Fragrant Cloud. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have some success with them, too. But I will have to learn to be as patient with them as with everything else in my garden. I plant, God decides.

Even the liatris bulbs I planted after my first round of gladiolus bulbs are starting to peek out. I had given up on them too, concluding that my dog had probably peed on them and killed them. Female dog urine is a powerful thing. It’ll take out whole patches of your lawn if you let it. I plant, God decides.

I also have to learn to be patient with people I care about. To overcome the urge to shake the living shit out of them when they don’t understand that what I’m trying to urge them to do is for their own good, not mine. I have to take a step back and ask myself, “Who made me queen?” Sometimes people aren’t ready for the message you’re trying to give them, and you can’t make them any more ready by being insistent or persistent. I plant, God decides.

Patience. A good garden, and a good life for that matter, requires it.


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