We took a stroll around the garden… my son leaning on my shoulders, me grateful that I am just the right height to fit under his arm. Weather permitting, it has become a daily ritual since we planted his new flower beds. I cannot help but smile quietly when my hitherto clueless-about-gardening son comments on how well the heuchera is doing and notes that the ajuga reptans is in flower.

My younger son prefers to grow vegetables and nourishes an ambition to build a greenhouse in his garden. For his birthday, a few years ago, I bought him seed potatoes, cabbages and strawberries… and that was that; he loved growing food for his family. This year, for my elder son’s birthday, just before the lockdown, I filled his wall baskets with pansies, sweet-smelling dianthus and trailing campanula, rescued from the wilting racks of the supermarket.

I love that both my sons have found joy in growing things, though one grows for beauty and the other for the table. It is interesting to see how watching things grow illustrates their different characters. There is the same excitement from both of them, but while my younger son cannot wait to show me how tall his brassicas have grown, the elder is having learn to be patient as Nature takes her time as he waits for plants to bloom.

So, every day, my son and I tour his garden, watching the progress of every leaf and bud, from the discarded forget-me-nots I rescued from the alley behind his house, to the latest acquisition, the Abracadabra rose. We have watched the tight buds swell and begin to reveal glimpses of colour. The new gardener asks ‘when’… the old gardener is just glad the roses survived being transplanted at this time of year.

Patience, I have observed, is not a trait that everyone shares. I used to be horribly impatient with most things…now it is only some things… so during my son’s recovery, I had a lot to learn. The recovery from brain injury is a long, slow process… like the unfolding of a flower, it happens at its own pace and cannot be forced. Holding back from doing something I could have done for him ten times faster than he could do it for himself was a hard lesson to learn… but had I not done so, he would have made no progress.

Not everyone is patient by nature, but watching things grow… whether it is flowers or people… helps you to learn the kind of patience that is born of accepting what is. A child cannot grow to adulthood overnight. A rose, even one named Abracadabra, cannot magically bloom before its petals have formed.

Gardening always makes me think of the well known ‘Serenity prayer’… “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time…”. Patience, when rooted in the acceptance of the moment, is often a gateway to serenity.

Accepting the gifts of the moment does not mean we cannot create change at need, or that we must accept that which we know to be wrong or harmful… like greenfly and black spot on roses, some things must be addressed as they arise… but where the moment gives us joy or beauty, it would be churlish to refuse its gift. And so I watch in joy as my son learns to wait for beauty to unfold.

28 thoughts on “Growing…

  1. A lovely post, Sue ❤ I used to love walking with my mother through her flower gardens. It never grew old. Gardens have a way of bringing us together, I think. Perhaps bringing out the best in us. I think of my paternal grandmother when I see roses. She always had beautiful roses, which I admired. My maternal grandparents kept manicured gardens, and their immaculate nature gave me a sense of security. Although I prefer growing flowers, I've asked for raised beds for Mother's Day. I already have seedlings ready for transplanting and that brings another kind of joy. Like your younger son, I'm looking forward to growing more food for my family. ❤


    1. There is something immensly satisfying about cooking what you have grown. My great grandparents had flowers outside the front of the house… and I could still name every one… but the back garden still held the crops they had grown through the war years.


  2. Fabulous post Sue, and I bet the scent is wonderful.
    After our disastrous summer last year and pruning our rose bushes back to nubs, we have some lovely new groth and two buds on two of the three. I think it is the yellow Peace that is slow again. We shall see.


    1. The Peace rose seems to take a while to get going…though there is no stopping it once it does. My own little roses, rescued half dead a few years ago, are fair heaving with buds again and won’t be long before they bloom.


      1. We had no blooms on it last year at all, yet the year before when we first bought it, they were beautiful. The others are a pink ancient mariner and a beautiful red rose from what was labelled In Loving Memory


  3. A beautiful post, Sue. There is something peaceful and life-affirming about watching things grow and about nurturing life along. Patiently. I grow veggies more than flowers but indulge in both. I love the way both of your sons have found joy in gardening. ❤


  4. One thing this lockdown has taught me, and many of us I suppose, is patience and tolerance. I find I no longer get upset that hubby puts things in the fridge the wrong way or the dog eats greasy food on the carpet. What will be will be. I’m just glad we are all still alive and healthy. I can wait this out. How wonderful that your boys both enjoy growing things. Enjoy your day. xo


    1. There is a lot to be learned from this current situation. After a walk in the wet grass with Ani, I am learning that a wet dog at your feet is not as pleasnat as a dry one 😉 xx


  5. A lovely post, Sue… How wonderful that both of your sons love to garden. I hope that my daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will acquire a love for the beauty, the bounty and the lessons that gardens have to unfold for us all. ❤


  6. Lovely Sue! How wonderful your sons can share this with you! I am watching my grandson grow, little by little, day to day. When my kids were small I often wondered would they ever grow up? And then they had and had left. You need to enjoy the journey….


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