In which patience starts to pay off.

Gardening is one of those hobbies that requires that so-called (and overrated if you ask me) virtue known as patience. It can take years to realize a vision as plants settle in, establish themselves and finally, spread out.  It’s a constant work in progress, with mother nature ultimately the one in control.

My friend Anna, who is a gardener to which I dare not hold a candle to, posted a photo of her bluebells yesterday, which made me go look in the backyard for mine. I had checked last week, but there were little signs of life back there at the time.  It was after all, snowing two weeks ago then warm enough for an outdoor happy hour under a blooming pink tree one week ago, so this week, there finally were signs of life all over.


Not only were there Virginia Bluebells, they were spreading – colonizing if you will.  (This is year four of them for those of you counting at home).

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And nearby? Mayapples that I thought for sure I’d killed last spring in attempting to move them to the back yard popping up AND spreading out. Yay me!

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I am not at all sure what I planted so close to those bluebells (actually, I don’t think I did plant them that close, I think that’s how much the bluebells have spread), but clearly, it’s coming back. I suspect it’s either a hosta or a hellebore baby. Time will tell. Either way, yay! Something took hold! (Edited to add that Anna weighed in she thinks that’s just baby bluebells spreading. We’ll see. Stay tuned!)

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The columbines I moved last spring and spent all summer carefully watering sprung up in their new spot.

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The lilac, which finally bloomed last year after probably what, 8 years? Seriously. I think it was that long. Anyhoo, after it bloomed last year, it dropped all its leaves and just looked pathetic the rest of the summer. I wondered if it blooming was the last gasp of life, but it’s got little buds for new leaves, so not dead!


Best of all was my Henry varigated sedum, which not only has sprung up, but has multiplied. Multiplied, finally!


In other garden news, what I thought was some black plague on the purple hellebores seems to have been appeased by digging up the entire bed, moving all the surrounding hostas and giving the hellebores space.h11

And the new hellebores I picked up a plant swap that are supposed to be a color I don’t have yet (and I don’t remember exactly what they are because this is year three they are in my garden (patience, I know)and I simply cannot remember everything I’ve planted, clearly) have new growth, which makes me think NEXT year is the year they’ll bloom. I forget how many years it took the purple ones to bloom –  long enough for me to think I’d killed them, but also start to regret how much money I’d spent on them. (the purple hellebores are one of the few plants I’ve actually purchased and not just ‘acquired’ because I really, really, really wanted them).


The hellebores I got from a neighborhood plant swap have thrown out babies and some of those babies are thriving – with their new growth, I’m wondering if next year will be the year they bloom. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

The mother plant for those babies is thriving. The wacky winter has the hellebores looking a bit raggedy this year- at first I was worried it was just mine, but after chatting with a fellow hellebore fan and cultivator, I was relieved to discover hers were having some of the same issues as mine.

In other (exciting to me) news, I discovered a volunteer begonia popping up in the pot of patchouli, the sorrel I planted last spring came back, which means I’ve finally gotten some established again (it’s only taken me about 4 years!) and the rosemary plant, which spent a big chunk of the winter being neglected in a pot in the basement, is beginning to bloom! Turns out sometimes benign neglect combined with just a wee bit of shelter from the cold is all it takes.

Meanwhile, the tulip magnolia remains glorious, even with it beginning to drop petals so that the front yard is a carpet of pink and white. There’s snow in the forecast this weekend, because after all, this is March in Virginia and these things happen, so the tulip magnolia only has a few more days of glory before mother nature turns it brown. Thankfully, the dogwoods are starting to bud, so it won’t be long before we have the next big pink tree blooming.  Patience. It might be a so-called overrated virtue, but there is nothing as satisfying as discovering proof in the garden that patience pays off.

6 thoughts on “In which patience starts to pay off.

  1. pattisj says:

    You are so right about seeing the garden come to fruition. The tender green leaves of Snow-on-the-Mountain appeared! The fennel is greening, the wildflower meadow is starting to look alive, iris foliage is growing, and the pinkish blossoms of the rhododendron are peeking out. Tulip Magnolias are so pretty. I wonder where they’ve been all my life! I saw one in our neighborhood a couple years ago, the first I’d ever seen.

    • Becky says:

      I discovered them in college and so had them on my ‘wish’ list for the future. When we found a house with everything we wanted, plus a tulip magnolia and dogwood in the front yard, we knew we were home.

    • Becky says:

      I don’t know that I have a knack – I just like to dig in the dirt and it gives me a really good excuse as to why my house is a wreck. I’m too busy gardening!
      Hellebores are pretty low maintenance though. They need shade and infinite amounts of patience.

  2. melissawest says:

    Sometimes things can really thrive if you just give them enough space and time. Gardens are a great lesson of that fact. Yours is off to a lovely and hopeful start!

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