Patience is a gardener’s best friend. In the garden almost nothing happens on a short timescale, and plenty of things only happen once a year.

Like daffodils. Each bulb produces one flower in spring. Then it puts its energy into creating more bulbs. Over time, you get more and more daffodils.

While it’s possible to shortcut the time with money – such as purchasing more daffodil bulbs to begin with – the reverse is also true. You can spend time to create plants for a fraction of the investment. But it’s always going to cost either time or money.

I usually choose time.

We’re entering our fourth year here at The Outpost and lately I’ve been noticing my patience has begun paying off.

Poor Knight’s Lily

Two years ago I worked on some Xeronema callistemon for a friend with an injured shoulder. This year, we got our first flower from one of those plants.

Flower on a Poor Knights Lily (Xeronema callistemon)

It wasn’t the plant I expected to pop first. I thought it would be our big one. It’s been slowly growing in its spot for the last two years, but still shows no signs. One of our divisions, however, surprised and delighted me when I was wondering around my ‘plant holding zone’.

Since owning them, I’ve noticed they can be a little unpredictable. This year the social media posts that inspired me to collect it in the first place seemed to be about a month late. My own plant is flowering about 6 weeks later than what I’ve come to think of as ‘usual’ in late October.

Being totally root-bound also doesn’t necessarily seem to be a qualification for flowering as my research had indicated, and a larger plant doesn’t equal earlier flowers. Still, I’m excited to see what happens in future years.


Over three years ago, I picked up six coffee plants. Much earlier this year, they flowered and produced fruit. The berries are beginning to ripen now.

Two coffee berries on a branch

I’ve had 3 berries ripen so far. They’ve ripened at different times and for now, I’m simply planting them back into soil to (hopefully) grow more coffee plants. I’m hoping a bit of patience and time will give me a small plantation of coffee plants that are best adapted to this place.

But early next year I’m planning to attend a workshop on what to do with my ripe coffee beans. I’m expecting the ‘main crop’ of berries to ripen around late Jan/early Feb. So a little more patience is required.

Finger limes

Four years ago I purchased my first finger lime plants. It’s possible that we might be harvesting our first finger limes in 2023.

Three purple finger limes on a branch.

As I’ve been watching the fruit, the colour has changed from red to purple, but they haven’t really increased in size. I’d like to hope this means I have a purple finger lime, but it’s all a surprise to me. Maybe they’re all about to fall off and I won’t get any at all!

The finger limes have been a bit of a journey. I’ve almost killed the plants a couple of times now! Still, they bounce back well when they have visited death’s door. This particular plant is due for re-potting next season, so either way I don’t think we’re too far off.

Slowly, slowly

Bit by bit, we’re getting there. Season after season new things start coming online and thriving.

Last year we discovered my father’s favourite apple is growing in our orchard – and it ripens just before his birthday. It’s awfully nice knowing I’ll be able to give him a bag each year to make the day a bit special.

On a day-to-day basis, there’s a never-ending to-do list. We’re always busy with the next thing. But seeing the things we did years ago begin to pay off is a great motivator to do more. What I plant now will surprise and delight me later.

If I’m patient.