March 20, 2014

Patience, really?

It's time to wrap up the "Lessons Learned" meme for the past season, and I must mention one more lesson I've learned: Most of the Northern gardeners who participated in the meme this time have a lot more patience with winter than I do.

In December, I was determined to enjoy the little joyful moments of winter, including the pretty little winter berries, the juncos, and the ice formations.

December January February

But this brutal winter kept even the juncos under cover most days, and kept me inside--away from the nifty ice and the pretty little berries.

"Patience" was the most common theme of your lessons this season. I'm impressed. Generally, I'm a patient person, but not with winter.

So you Northern folks who still feel patient get the prize. And gardeners in the South and in the Southern Hemisphere: I envy you.

In any case, thanks to all who participated, including:

Holley at Roses and Other Gardening Joys, in Texas, U.S., who describes the lessons she learned when a prison escapee was on the loose in her community, yet she was determination to venture out and prune her Roses anyway. The escapee was later captured, but the newly clipped Roses suffered a cold-weather setback. Rose learned, "Like a desperate escapee, the weather is never predictable. You have to keep alert to it. Odds are, it will come into the garden sometime during the year, wreaking havoc. It can be record cold, an extreme drought, or scorching summer temperatures. Some years, it's all three."

Angie at Angie's Garden Diaries, in Scotland, U.K., shares "when not to move a Clematis." While she's since received very specific advice on the topic, Angie learned one very specific lesson: Do not move a Clematis "one hour before a doctor appointment, knowing full well your blood pressure will be checked!" She's also come to realize that "gardeners all have their own gardening regimes. What works for some will not work for others. When is the best time to move, and when is the wrong time to move? Can or should it be moved? Sometimes the answer is with the gods!"

Sue at Diary of a Suburban Gardener, in Victoria, Australia, offers lessons from record heat and drought this past season--obviously, the opposite problem of most of us U.S. gardeners this year. Sue learned which of her impressive plants can survive and thrive at the extremes. Among them: Common Sage, native Australian grasses, Veronica perfoliata, Plumbago auriculata, Rosemary, various Euphorbias, Santolina, Hellebores (in shade), Wallflowers, Ornamental Comfrey (in shade), Scented Geraniums, and Indigofera australis. She also shows glimpses of animal visitors to her garden.

crocuses
Crocuses from my garden last year.

Donna at Gardens Eye View, in New York State, U.S., has big plans for retirement. And she's celebrating! Her lessons: "Lean in and enjoy where you are, even if it's cold and snowy. Find the beauty and joy of your surroundings. When I stop fighting and being negative, I see the lovely details of the early morning sun sparkling on the snow, the different textures of the snow, and the way the spent blooms catch the snow, and so on." This kind of reminds me of a song from the movie "Frozen" that I can't get out of my mind ...

Rose at Prairie Rose's Garden, in Illinois, U.S., offers the wisdom that while there might not be colorful blooms outside during the winter, what's more beautiful than a bright red cardinal on freshly fallen snow? Rose shares her techniques for overwintering several specific plants. She's looking forward to finding out how they fared. I agree with her and commiserate on these points: "This winter has been a reminder of what true winter in the Midwest is like ... Winter has taught me a lot about patience, but the best part of winter for me is that it makes me appreciate spring that much more."

KL at Beautiful Boonton and a Novice Naturalist, in New Jersey, U.S., describes the joy of birdsongs--especially as the winter wanes. She's noticing them gathering materials for nests. She's also spends the colder days planting seeds for her summer garden. Her biggest lesson: not to rush when planting and tending indoor seeds and plants. She also shares the importance of having a garden plan--"where each plant will go, when they will go in, and what will come after them ... planning for the garden is an absolute must."

lilacbud
Lilac buds in late winter.

Others with lessons added in their comments, include:

Lynne at Irish Garden House, who considers the pros and cons of deadheading her Rhododendrons. John at Gardens at Waters East is anxious for the snow to melt so he can get out into the garden. Deb at Deb's Garden wants more Sedges, after recently learning how much she loves them.

Helene at Graphicality-UK is pleased that she didn't lose any plants this winter, because London didn't have any frost. Tatyana at My Secret Garden warns not to water Burro's Tail succulents if you want them to overwinter. Lee at A Guide to Northeastern Gardening hopes the winter wasn't too harsh on the plants.

hellebores
Hellebores emerging last spring. Can't wait to see these babies!

Aaron at Garden of Aaron says "winter interest" does matter to him, and many of his plants weren't as winter-hardy as he thought they would be. Jason at Garden in a City plans to share what he learned in a garden designer drafting class. Sweetbay says planning does little good, since the weather and the voles have other ideas.

Jen at Muddy Boot Dreams loves to "look out the window at the snow-covered mounds that are my plants, and plan." Tammy at Casa Mariposa says winter allows her to step back from garden problems and solve them in a more rational way than she would during the growing season.

Ricki at Sprig to Twig says moving potted plants to the front porch isn't protection enough during the coldest days of a brutal winter. Karen at Quarry Garden Stained Glass is lamenting the sun scald and dessication that some of her plants suffered from this brutal winter, and plans to wrap them next winter.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So there you have it! Wow, that's a lot of lessons! If I forgot anyone with lessons to share, please let me know and I'll add them here.

I'm still digesting all the new knowledge, wisdom, and advice. I promise to try to be more patient, really I do.

south
Yeah, I can see myself sitting here right about now.

Or maybe I'll just move south.

(I mean no disrespect by the title of this post. It's a tease, and I'm simply poking fun at myself for my lack of patience with winter. Oh, and happy spring to gardeners in the Northern Hemisphere, and good harvest to those in the Southern Hemisphere!)

30 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for including me :)

    I love the way you condensed my rambling to a single succinct point about winter interest mattering to me!

    I wonder if patience has become harder for all of us recently. In the past, we were accustomed to waiting - waiting for a letter to arrive, waiting for a movie to be rebroadcast on TV, etc.

    Now we expect instantaneous email and know we can stream almost any movie right away via Amazon or Netflix or one of the other video services.

    But the garden has not sped up. It still has its own immutable rhythm.

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    1. Thanks for joining in, Aaron! You didn't ramble--but I tried to capture the gist of each lesson for the wrap-up. ;-) Good points about patience! Generally, I'm pretty patient--especially with the garden and nature. But winter--and a brutal one, in particular--is really tough for me! Of course, now we don't want things to melt too fast, because then we'll have flooding.

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  2. Lovely life lessons... thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you, Carolyn. Happy spring! I'm sure it's gorgeous out in your part of the country. Enjoy!

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  3. Wonderful lessons Beth....it has been hard this winter and right now it is cold and snowing again this first day of spring!!

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    1. Thanks, Donna. We're on a rollercoaster ride here in the Midwest--warm today, and then cold for a week. Warm again next weekend. I guess that's pretty normal for March in Wisconsin. ;-)

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  4. I've learnt that Naked Ladies is a fun name for our March lilies. But that yours are same habit, different plant.

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    1. Ha! Yes, indeed. Those Lilies (of various types) that bloom for you in March and for me in August are fascinating plants!

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  5. I guess I get a prize since I am the most patient garden blogger enjoying the Winter. Even now it is snowing on the first day of Spring. Maybe by May it will finally melt all the snow piles in my garden. I might have daffodils and lilies blooming simultaneously the way it is going. LOL

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    1. Thank goodness we have your optimism in our midst, Donna! Many a day I was feeling down and visited your blog and it cheered me up about winter! I can't promise I'll be patient about winter, but your posts helped this year! We are warm today, so I'm curious if I'll be seeing more emerging plants. Yay!

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  6. There're so much lesson for me from this post. Thanks for sharing

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    1. I agree--lots to learn. Thanks for sharing notes as we move through the seasons around the world. :)

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  7. Ugh, patience is overrated, bring on spring, open up the garden centers and let me get out there! LOL.

    Jen

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    1. Absolutely! I practice patience when possible, but I have my limits. ;-)

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  8. You summed up my lesson learned far better than I could have Beth - well done! FYI - blood pressure has been rechecked and is normal! Just confirms what I suspected.

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    1. Ah, good! Glad to hear the BP was normal at rest. Same thing (or similar) happened to me recently. Thanks, again, for participating, Angie!

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  9. Hi dear,
    thanks to the weather it's spring here and so I send you tonns of sun! May it help!
    Have sunny days and happy spring
    All the best from Austria
    Elisabeth

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    1. Oh, I do appreciate that! Spring here today and winter next week, again. But after that it does look like we might be turning the corner for a while. Cheers!

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  10. I'm really not as patient as I claim to be:) I had to work the past two days, so I didn't get to enjoy or work in the garden on the loveliest days we've had in a long time. And tomorrow it's going to be cold again with snow in the forecast next week. My patience is wearing thin. Thanks for hosting this again; I always enjoy it!

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    1. I guess we need to hang in there, Rose. If not patient, at least survivors! ;-) More winter this week, and then the forecast is looking a lot better. So much to look forward to when the weather really turns warm.

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  11. Lots of good lessons to learn and as difficult as it can be at times, good things come to those who wait – well usually at least! But when it comes to spring I think we can be fairly sure it will, I guess your spring will be very much like a Norwegian spring this year - one week of dramatic thaw and everything bursting into flower and then suddenly its summer. I hope it will happen soon!
    Thanks for all the good lessons and for summing them up for us.

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    1. So true, Helene! The more you tell me about Norway, the more I think our climate is similar. Except I think our summers are a little more consistently hot and a little longer. But the winters seem almost the same. Visits to your blog are cheering me up!

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  12. Patience is about the hardest thing a gardener can learn, but of course it's the most necessary. The garden (and the weather, as long as we're on the subject) will do what it does whether we are patient or not.

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    1. Yes, absolutely! I won't be changing the weather by being impatient. I'll keep trying every winter to be more patient, but I doubt if I'll ever achieve it. The rest of the year, I want time to stand still. ;-)

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  13. The garden certainly has a lot of lessons to teach! Just hoping they won't go in one ear and out the other, so to speak, as classroom lessons often did! By the way, I would love to join you on that bench!

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    1. Ha! Yes, that does happen sometimes, doesn't it? Regarding the tropical setting, I've noticed that many of my friends have been on tropical vacations lately. I wonder why ... ;-)

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  14. Patience is definitely not my strong suit. The upside is, there's so much room for improvement, and so many opportunities to practice.

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    1. Ha! Just catching up on comments from previous posts and found this one. Thanks for the chuckle! I guess I'm a mixed bag: I have absolutely no patience for winter, but plenty in every other season. And other aspects of life are mixed, too. I'm glad I'm not the only one who needs practice in this virtue. ;-)

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  15. Patience is a double edged sword: waiting makes us crazy but being fed up and knowing we can't do anything to speed up the process also makes us crazy. But living in a climate that doesn't change would bug me. I need all four seasons. We're closer to spring today than we were yesterday. :o)

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    1. I agree: I prefer at least a taste of winter. Perfect scenario (for me): Live in Wisconsin April through January, and somewhere else (a warm place) in February and March. :)

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