One of the Best Things a Garden Can Teach You

How one woman found friendships and memories through her green thumb. 

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Patience in the garden

I am lucky to have a friend in whose garden I’ve encountered new and exciting plants each summer. Two years ago, she reached into her greenery, plucked a leaf, crushed it and invited me to inhale. It was pineapple sage, and its aroma was like nothing I’d ever experienced—earthy and fresh, subtly fruity and just slightly tropical.

As we chatted, I immediately envisioned a summer get-together with friends, outside in the warm evening air, maybe with some twinkle lights draped over the patio umbrella. There had to be a way to make that pineapple sage the star of something special to share around the table, I said. I pledged to make it happen.

And it did—two years later, with my friend and others right where I’d hoped they’d be. The simple syrup made with the pineapple sage leaves was as fragrant and summery as I had imagined, especially when poured over ice and topped with sparkling water. The company was wonderful, the table full of nibbles made from the summer’s bounty.

Relaxing around the table, I wistfully noted how long it had taken for the stars to align around my garden party idea. But I quickly corrected my lamentation as I realized how much more meaningful the gathering was specifically because it had been challenging to coordinate.

It’s the things that take awhile to put together that often stand out the most. Of all the lessons my garden has to teach me, this type of patience is the one I need to learn again and again, in different scenarios each time but with the same profound take-away: if I can abide the unpredictability of the garden, my labors will eventually bear fruit.

After all, when it comes to the temperature, the rainfall, the critters and my energy level, I don’t get to control everything that goes into—or comes out of—my garden. But if I am open to learning from others, planting something new and holding a good idea in my mind until it can have its moment, everything, and in this case everyone, will come together to toast gardens, friendships and other things that grow.

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