Saturday, April 3, 2010

Gardeners need patience

When I was a kid in my very early teens I mail-ordered a European fire-bellied toad from a small company in Vermont. Kids, of course, have very short attention spans; the toad did not appear in the mail any time soon, and so I more or less forgot about it. The tumultuous life of a teenager provided plenty of distractions. Then a year later, without any warning, a tiny match-box sized container appeared in the mail. I was skeptical: could the toad possibly be in that little box? It was. We develop patience, whether we want to or not it seems.

A bit over twenty years ago I imported a rose of some historic importance from the famous English firm, Hillier Nursery. It grew slowly and eventually after several years became strong enough to bloom. For two or three years it bloomed, and then it suddenly died. At the time I was not about to go through the hassle of importing a rose again (permits, methyl bromide, quarantine), and the years passed. Then I began to miss it, and wanted a replacement.

In November 2003 I put down a deposit to be put on a list for this rose. Then the wait began. I went into this thinking I would get my rose by 2005 at the latest. But things happen - or, in this case, don't happen. I wrote the occasional plaintive letter; the responses were always cordial and encouraging. That I knew the difficulty of propagating the rose in question helped - I felt things were going in the right direction. I know about patience.

The other day I realized that since it was already mid March, and the rose shipping season was underway, maybe it was time to nudge the grower again. I made a mental note to myself to do just that.

The very next day the postman dropped off an unexpected box. I've ordered a lot of stuff lately, and I had no idea what was in the box. When I saw the return address my heart leaped: could it be, finally, after all these years? Yes, it was: after six and a half years I finally got my rose.

There is a lot more to this story, and I'll tell it later.

Note: this posting was originally posted last week; I had to change a comment, and the only way I know to do that is to delete the original posting and re-post it without the comment.

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