Not being a great fan of patience (I cannot consider it much of a value, sometimes), I have had a lot of lessons in patience from my garden. Or rather, gardens, for there have been more than one. Our first garden was at our first home, and I learned the value of mulching by collecting grass clippings and mulching a long bed of daisies. The daisies grow to about five or six feet; the grass from the grass clippings prospered as well. Should have had the patience to learn about better mulch. Oh, well. Second garden was at another home where we had an acre and a half, large enough to make lots and lots of gardening mistakes. Particularly not taking the time to prepare the soil before planting. Third garden was in the foothills of Arkansas, a whole new exercise in patience. Lots of shade, deadly armadillos, and rock only a few inches below every inch. Lessons learned at every turn. Now we have a Texas garden full of lessons learned and lessons still learning: feed the soil first, mulch-mulch-mulch, compost times three, and finally, give the plants time. But it is still hard for me. I plant something new and exhort it to 'grow, grow, bloom, bloom.' I don't want to wait until next year. As one of my grandson's shirts reads, "All I want is what I want, when I want it, and I want it now." Of course it doesn't work that way at all. Plants know that what is needed is time to establish, time to acclimate, time to let us know what they need. And then, impatient as I am, I am given the best lesson of all: what happens when a plant is happy, well-fed, and ready to give its gift of beauty. And every morning's stroll becomes a reward for whatever patience I have learned. For in gardening, as in life, patience may not be a virtue but it surely seems to be a requirement.