Of all of the four seasons in my garden, it’s during spring that I tend to relearn this lesson: be patient. As my Missouri hillside greens up from a drab, cold winter, I periodically am startled to find plants growing I thought had died.
Some show up the following spring from when they are planted. Others, such as a catalpa tree start, has re-appeared a couple of years after I planted, and then thought, it had died.
It’s yet another reason why I don’t cut out and remove plants that appear to be dead. Well, I tell myself that but last week I decided I was going to clear a flower bed of one of the hybrid tea roses that appeared to be dead. As soon as I pulled it out, I saw a new green start growing along the side so back into the soil it went while I admonished myself to not be so impatient.
In another flower border, I looked at my little fig tree and debated whether to pull it out or not. After a few minutes, I reached a compromise with myself and peeked along the side of what appeared to be dead. Again a little shoot appeared growing to one side so I left it there, excited to know I had not lost them after all.
By pulling the fragile starts out of the ground we reduce the chances they will grow. If we leave them in and only clean them out later when we know nothing has survived, then we raise the chances that the plants will re-establish themselves.
The critical part of anything growing well is the strength of its roots. Even after drought periods, as long as the roots are kept hydrated there is a good chance the plant will come back later.
I think of myself as a patient person but every year my garden reminds me of what it truly means. To every thing, including plants, there is a season, and a rate of growth. So keep my hands off of them until I know for sure they haven’t made it!