One of the unexpected fruits of gardening is the way it teaches you basic life skills, like patience. After you have had some good rewards, especially when getting into your second or third year of gardening, you donít mind doing something which wonít have results for several months to come.
For impulsive or spontaneous people, who like to fly by the seat of their pants and like instant results, gardening can get you not only thinking ahead by several months, and following plans, but also doing things which will not bear fruit, maybe for months or years; things which in themselves may eventually create more time for living in the moment.
I love scattering seed in autumn in anticipation of surprises in spring. I canít imagine what it would be like to see large trees decades later grown to maturity, and I envy people who have experienced this. It makes tree planting, even if you arenít there to see them grow, a particular kind of pleasure.
Living on the Christchurch Peninsula, in a barren, windy and hot spot, has made me very keen on natives because intuitively I am seeking the moisture and shade they will bring, and I also know they belong here and will grow easily. Patience has meant that a free source of natives has come along, in the form of a friend who has an established garden with seedlings. Local, so I know they will grow here.
Patience has also rewarded me, finally, with a stash of peastraw, with which to mulch and extend the vegetable garden. Now that I have peastraw, I can move on from the simple but labour intensive Ďdigging a gardení method of soil preparation to the newspaper and peastraw method.
Weíve nearly been here a year and although - short of shelling out thousands for an instant designer garden - progress has seemed painfully slow sometimes; the number of ways in which we have been held up getting the simple things like compost and peastraw would have been humorous if they hadnít been so frustrating; although itís been slow and Iíve wished I had a million bucks with which to go and solve the problem; looking at it now, I can see results. The ornamental garden isnít quite so fully swallowed by the size of the lawn, and now I have loads of peastraw to crank the vegetable garden along, not to mention access to a towbar and trailer.
Monica's discoveries are a work in progress and should not be taken as formal advice, especially where precise results are important