Hatton: Important gardening benefits
How did we live without cell phones and the constant texting, social media posts and, occasionally, talking that go with them? We must be available to everyone instantly and all the time. News organizations race to see who can get the story out first via today’s technology. By the time you see it on TV network news, it is old news. Heaven forbid you should have to read about it in the newspaper … the next day! Many have forgotten about the story by then.
To everyone who subscribes to the above, I recommend gardening. Gardening teaches patience while also allowing you to relax, unwind, and forget about negative issues. It lowers your blood pressure and calms.
Patience is not only a virtue; it is required for gardening. The mature trees in your yard and in the park did not grow in a week, month, or year. In addition to the time required for plants to grow to maturity, there are other times when patience is rewarded.
Last winter, several of my shrubs suffered severe damage from the weather. Of particular concern were six crape myrtles. These are not the hardiest of plants in Amarillo, but they fare well most of the time. I could see a lot of damage in several of the larger ones.
I stewed about them as I waited to see how they would react to warm weather and wondered if any were killed. Partly because of patience and partly because I was way behind in my gardening activities, I left them alone and was rewarded by new growth from all. I know that they are root hardy, but the early fall freeze and the late spring freeze were a double dose of severe conditions that killed several other plants.
It can be the same for seeds that you have planted. If conditions are not optimal, the seeds may not germinate as quickly as advertised, if at all. Seeds are smart and will not germinate until conditions are right. They can be affected by many things including moisture, light, temperature, and soil conditions. Occasionally I will see a seedling and wonder what it is only to remember that I either had that plant near that location previously, or I sowed seeds in that location that might not have germinated.
I learned the need for patience gardening in Amarillo from a former Amarillo Botanical Gardens staff member when I moved back to Amarillo and volunteered at ABG. The lessons at that time generally had to do with perennials coming out in the spring …giving them time before giving up on them as dead. Some plants are more affected by the winter weather than others and come up much later in spring. So, I learned to wait.
In today’s fast-paced world, a dose of patience would benefit most of us. I and my gardens have benefited greatly from this lesson. Many folks have turned to gardening in this year of much uncertainty. It is a healthy, rewarding therapy.