Gardening is the way of the soul. Only by caring for that which grows can one grow themselves, as people.

I know all the old proverbs, but even though they were written down hundreds of years ago by our ancestors. We might teach our young ones to hide in the shadows and enhance lives with the quick smile of a child, but we also teach gardening. Plants teach patience. Plants teach respect. And it also means we get free gardening services without any of the elders having to lift a finger, so that’s very good.

One thing we did not have in our ancestral home were tulips; they are not found in our region, at least not easily. They can be difficult to care for in certain seasons, so fortunately our neighbour knows a place where there are tulip bulbs for sale. Our test for the younger members of the family involves planting them out of season, forcing them to care for plants that are unlikely to grow. This teaches them patience, understanding, finesse, and also the value of failure.

And it’s nice to get to know the neighbours, even if we can never invite them in for a cup of green tea lest we reveal the family secrets. Our neighbour is from overseas, and their people have been allies of the family for at least three decades. Such a wise culture, and they even knew where to purchase tulip bulbs. Also, the name of the plant itself…I’d walked past them in other people’s gardens and I didn’t have a clue what they were or how to purchase them. Of course, the younger family members simply said that you can purchase tulip bulbs online, along with any other plant…and so we gave them an extra two hours of garden duty.

See, gardening DOES teach many things. Patience, perseverance, the value of failure, and when not to talk back to your elders. Give us a break.