walnuttreeSometimes it feels like we live in an instant society, a 'see it one minute, have it the next' sort of world where to wait for anything seems an imposition. Even we gardeners can find ourselves yearning for things to be faster: cabbages which heart in half the time, apple trees that fruit earlier in the season, seed companies that offer next day delivery... Not that there's anything terribly wrong with 'faster', it's just that, when we find ourselves dealing with anything that takes 'longer', we're now disinclined to put up with the wait and hence often never give it a go and get to enjoy the rewards. The fact is that good things often really do take time.

Someone once said to me, when we were moving into our new home and I was contemplating buying a wisteria to climb along the railing of the deck, "They take a long time to get established, you know," and, consequently, I left it twenty years before I finally bought one. It was the same with our walnut tree. "Make sure you get the grafted one or you'll be waiting for years for it to bare nuts," said a well-meaning friend. Ten years later, we were still looking for the "right" tree whereas, no matter which one we'd planted when we first thought of it, it would have already been fruiting!

It's taken almost forever, but I've finally stopped thinking about how long things take to grow, and have simply got on with planting what I want to, regardless. It started a few years back when I planted a pittosporum I wanted to topiary, and just last week I gave it its first ridiculous trim (it looks like a little rectangle at present but in another year or two it will have a head and waist. Then I'll move onto a skirt and feet). Around the same time, I potted up a couple of slightly faster growing Lonicera nitida (box honey suckle) which I intended to snip into shape as soon as they were large enough. One now sports four rather dandy baubles and even featured in a community movie which we made here in my Catlins village. It's called 'Snip' and you can view it at www.youtube.com/watch?v=re0iq7JoC1E And just last summer, I potted up three ivy cuttings which have now taken root and which I intend to train up a bamboo stake and encourage to grow into a sphere at the top. I always look at these gorgeous living sculptures in garden centres at Christmas time, decorated with fairy lights and little red bows (and costing far more than I can afford) and wish like anything that I'd started one growing years ago.

If anyone can learn to have patience, surely it's a gardener. And with that smug piece of wisdom, I'm off (for the fourth time today) to check if my parsley seed have germinated!

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