It has taken me a dozen years to discover the beauty of gardening.

I’ve struggled because gardening has nothing to do with perfection and everything to do with patience — which runs counter to my Type A personality.

In my job, the fruits of my labors are immediate. I’m instantly gratified when I’ve completed a task. In perennial gardening, plantings don’t come into their own for days, weeks, months, even years. Thank goodness for annuals to carry me through the wait!

Memorial Day weekend, it dawned on me: Gardening is equal parts art and science, and both components are critical. The garden spaces featured in this issue are extraordinary examples of what can happen when you put your heart into nurturing and tending what you plant. Spoiler alert: Bob Goding’s backyard paradise has a river running through it while Holly Barstow’s haven boasts a lily pond and nine SUV loads of annuals.

I can only dream.

A big challenge for me is distinguishing weed from flower. A Facebook friend suggested that a weed is anything you don’t want growing in a particular spot. I tried that, to the detriment of beds planted by three landscaping services over the years. World-Herald colleague Henry Cordes recently suggested that I download the free app Pl@ntNet. It’s slick: Simply snap a photo of the plant in question, upload it to the app and in seconds the plant is identified. It’s not foolproof, but it does seem to work most of the time.

I’ve tapped the volunteers at Benson Plant Rescue for planting tips. And, of course, there’s colleague Marjie Ducey, who lives and breathes gardens and writes about them year-round. In her July-August column, she chats with a National Garden Club flower judge from Omaha who reminds us that the secret to a beautiful garden plot is pretty basic: Right plant, right place. Love a handpicked bouquet? Don’t miss the pro’s growing tips for fresh-cut flowers.

Until next time, I’d love to hear the story of your garden journey.

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Chris is a magazine and special sections editor for The World-Herald. She writes on lifestyle topics and trends, including interior design, travel and fashion. Follow her on Instagram @chrischristen and Twitter @cchristenOWH. Phone: 402-444-1094.

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