My passion for gardening may strike some as selfish, or merely an act of resignation in the face of overwhelming problems that beset the world. It is neither. I have found that each garden is just what Voltaire proposed in Candide: a microcosm of a just and beautiful society. ~ Dr. Andrew Weil
Jes Robinson, April 20, 2017
If it is one thing that seasonal gardening has taught me, it is that patience is the most valuable tool in my collection. Waiting for seedlings to sprout has to be one of the most intriguing and satisfying occupations where you have absolutely no control. It’s like raising children, you provide all the structure, the nourishment and ideal conditions but in the end the results are ultimately left up to fate.
This waiting, this faith we place in the carefully laid plans are so relatable to all aspects of our life that it’s difficult to explain Horticulture without also addressing the lasting benefits of learning to control your patience in the garden. With soil based gardening, you understand that life is truly made of all things. The purpose of strong foundations become clear. A tendency to look ahead and coordinate your efforts to reduce your labor later and to make efficient use of all resources in your environment become natural. These are tenets of Permaculture gardening and are keys to living a low-impact life.
Another important lesson that patience teaches us is in the garden is how to cope with disappointment. Sometimes despite all our efforts, a plant will not flourish for a thousand reasons that have nothing to do with our stewardship and yet that loss is felt keenly to the avid gardener. Rather than seeing it is a threat to our capabilities, the detached gardener will accept the failure and take the lesson from it; in all things, tomorrow will come with an opportunity to see success in what we are planting today.
A friend once told me that in order to provide a sufficient crop, you must plant an abundance of seeds, this way the law of averages will override and provide success. This is a solid idea and much of my small space gardens are based on this idea. Supplementing the diet of a small family in a small space is challenging, but I have found that as with happiness and love, the more you harvest…the more it grows. Be flexible, don’t hesitate to try new things. Be persistent and objective, let yourself flow with nature, without fighting it. These are important lessons learned so well when we observe the living world around us.
I know it sounds corny but I promise you, the more time you spend in your garden and the more harvests you experience over the years will leave a lasting impression of the joy and patience of renewal and atrophy. A balance of stability that will center you in the midst of the turbulent times we face globally and leave a lasting independence of spirit.