I truly believe that gardening is an exercise in patience. You can't make a bud open before it's ready; you can't make the summer months arrive sooner; you can't harvest edibles until they mature and ripen. The gardener's schedule is not the important one in this relationship. What matters is the plants' temperaments, the days' length, and the air's warmth.
All of this is one reason why gardening is a healthy endeavor for me because I am not exactly the most patient person. Learning to cede control to the landscape and the other living things in my garden is instructive and relaxing at the same time. When I forget that principle, I run into problems. Case in point: I was too eager to remove the protective cover of leaves from my garden, and now the tender shoots will be exposed to the freezing temperatures and precipitation coming this weekend.
When it was in the 60s and sunny, I uncovered my garden against my better judgment. Now we're looking at snow and sleet--which is typical of Chicagoland in March--and I had to push leaves back onto the bed to cover the peonies, irises, columbines, and even salvias that are putting out tentative leaves. Above are peony shoots. Below are some daffodils ready to bloom with Salvia nemorosa hesitantly leafing out behind them.
Last week I was thrilled with how much was poking out above the soil; now I'm terrified it will all be ruined. The sparse covering of leaves I just put back on will probably not have much effect, and the tulips and daffodils are too large now to really benefit from being buried. All I can do now is hope, and remember the importance of restraint...