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When I fell in love with gardening, my passion inspired single-minded dedication. I spent all my time gardening, and never worried about what needed to be done next — I just put one foot in front of the other and the work seemed to flow.

Eventually, other loves began to compete, and I had to juggle my time. I discovered I could no longer simply flow through garden tasks; I noticed preferences, and wanted to do those that were easier, or more fun. But they weren’t necessarily what the garden needed most just then.

Like any commitment, a garden requires discipline. You keep at it whether you feel like it or not. In the long run, you reap satisfaction far greater than if you follow the whim of the moment.

Under the discipline to accomplish tasks, lies training my mind itself — in what I think of as “active faith,” sometimes described as “courage to change the things I can, faith to accept those I can’t.” Though I plan the garden and work to bring my design about, though I feed and tend the plants, I have to also trust the garden, trust the Earth. Plants will thrive if they’re suited to the conditions I can provide. If they don’t, I need to let them go.

It’s a balancing act between daring to dream and to begin new projects, even to move on and try something else when one fails … and cultivating the patience to let Mother Earth do her part.

Two amaryllis are not sprouting at all, though I water them the same as the others who broke dormancy weeks ago. How long should I keep trying?

The discipline to do what needs to be done, do what I can, and then let go, frees me from worrying about what I didn’t do. I enjoy my garden more — and indeed, my life.

© 2006 Catherine Holmes Clark