brugmansia landscape

Slow growing

Instant gratification – this is not something that a garden provides. My sister-in-law has a gift for transforming drab porches and patios into a welcoming haven within a matter of days, sometimes only hours. In stark contrast, my bargain-hunting compulsions leave me with little choice but to wait much longer to see the rewards of my labor.

When an unusual variety is desired, what is usually required is starting it from seed. That process is not compatible with a demand for immediate color in the garden.

You want tomatoes? You will wait about 65 days from the time you set them out before you slice one for your salad. Do you want heirloom tomatoes? Wait a few weeks before your seeds are delivered, then another three or four weeks for them to sprout and grow into good sized seedlings. Then wait another 65 days until harvest.

I like to plant annuals for some nice summer color as the perennials finish blooming, but starting them from seeds takes similar patience.

When it comes to tropical plants, it could be even slower! I have taken a strong liking to Angel Trumpets, also known as brugmansias. Even in a southern climate, they don’t always bloom at all the first year.

Here it is August, and the six-foot tall yellow Angel Trumpet that my Yard Boy dug up and overwintered in the house for me is just starting to bloom. The pink one looks like it won’t bloom at all this year before it will have to be dug and moved to escape the lethal frost.

But the wait is worth it! I don’t grow very many plants that require moving inside, because I don’t have room for them in the house in the winter. So we have to be discriminating about which ones deserve a place in the garden.

Brugmansias not only earn this treatment, but they also are worth waiting months and months for the long, pale flowers trumpeting their fragrance to anyone passing close by.

God wants us to be slow in some things. “Quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger” is a quality we can and should strive to attain (James 1:19).

While we like quick and easy things in our lives, our emotions should not be in that list!

“He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly” (Proverbs 14:29, NASB).

You remember the old trick of counting to ten when you’re angry? Maybe that’s not a bad idea. Maybe counting to a hundred would be better. There are very few angry retorts that I regret not saying, at least after the heat of the moment has passed.

Sad to say, there are far more things that I wish I would have left unspoken.

Want quick color in the garden? Purchase pre-planted giant flower pots at a garden center. Want quick color in your language? No, you don’t. You want to be slow to speak! You will be glad later that you were slow.

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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