Last year, my son had his garden re-done. The heavy sleepers supporting the old decking had rotted beyond salvation and what should have been a quick repair job became a major undertaking that took all summer and well into the autumn. Long before it was practical to start buying plants, he discovered Japanese maples… and we spent hours, days, trawling through catalogues and visiting garden centres. He fell in love with several, but as established and well-aged trees, their price was astronomical. Then he got lucky… a beautiful sapling, with deep red foliage, a spiralling stem and a sensible price tag just seemed to be calling to him across the plant centre. We took it home.

I spent the rest of the summer desperately moving the potted sapling around the garden to stop it from scorching in the sun and, come autumn, chocking the plant-pot with heavy tubs to prevent it falling over in the winds.

We finally got it planted. The ground was well dug, plenty of drainage and even more manure went into the hole. By this time, the tree had suffered. Sun and wind scorched leaves were falling, leaving only bare branches behind. As winter set in, with an echo of childhood’s ‘are we nearly there?’, I was sent out daily to examine and report on the little tree’s progress, while its keeper vacillated between hope and despair.

But planting a tree is a long-term commitment. It requires love, attention and patience. You cannot make it grow faster than Nature intended, no matter how much care you lavish upon it, how often you feed it… or how often you send the house-hobbit out to look at it.

When the first, microscopic buds began to appear, he didn’t believe they would do anything. Being a gardener most of my life, I was confident that all was as it should be and, in a few months, he would see the results of Nature’s cycle. As the buds began to swell, just enough to catch them on the camera, I took pictures daily to show him how well the tree was doing. He was still worried and sceptical.

When the gales blew the fence down, he somehow managed to get around the garden in time to catch the falling fence and hold it above the sapling until I could get there and do a temporary repair.

When the first leaves began to unfurl, he was worried they were damaged as they did not emerge fully formed and beautiful, but screwed up, green and furry. When the sun warmed the little tree one day and all the leaves began to unfurl at once, he finally saw the rebirth of ‘his’ tree. Not fully-fledged, by any means. The leaves emerge green, just touched with a red that deepens as the foliage matures. The leaf casings are scarlet wings and tiny bunches of deep crimson flowers tip the branches.

It has been an exercise in patience and commitment, tending the tree, protecting it, hoping it would, eventually regain the beauty that had captivated him when he first spotted it, so many months ago, yet lacking the experience to have faith in Nature and my assurances.

Now, every day, he hangs on my shoulder and we walk round the garden to see the little tree. He knows the shape and hue of every leaf, watching as they begin to open and recapture their colours.  He will sit on the earth and drink in its beauty, watching the play of light through delicate leaves that seem lit from within with all the colours of flame.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
This entry was posted in Life, Photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Patience

  1. Sadje says:

    It is an exercise in patience

    Liked by 2 people

  2. it’s wonderful when a plant that’s been looking iffy shows that it’s alive and well after all! Patience is the key.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Darlene says:

    What a wonderful story for Easter. I´m sure he sees in the tree his own road to survival. I love this. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a beautiful post, Sue. It brought tears to my eyes.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    Sue’s tale of patience about her son’s tree.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. beth says:

    what a lovely story for so many reasons, sue

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Adele Marie says:

    A wonderful love between the tree and your son. Health and happiness to them both. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  8. willowdot21 says:

    I love that Nick and the Acetate on a life path together.💜🌈

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Beautiful, Sue. There is something sacred about nurturing growth, and it’s immensely rewarding when the effort pays off. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Eliza Waters says:

    I don’t know what is more beautiful– the Acer or Nick’s heart. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  11. A plant that requires too much commitment from me dies, haha. Good on you for all your efforts to keep this one alive.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A lesson -packed. story. God bless you for this! 💙

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.