One of the many delights of St Albans are the impressive displays of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellia during the spring and early summer. The drive at Childwickbury is especially colourful in season.

We inherited a couple of rhododendron and have steadily added more including what was described as a “winter flowering camellia” about 15 years ago. It went down the bottom of our garden by a fairly scrubby area and remained largely forgotten because it never flowered. Two years ago I cleared out that area and added two rhododendron and another winter camellia. Still no flowers, even though the new plants started to prosper. I became convinced that we had the wrong plant and decided that if it didn’t flower this winter it would come out next spring. This winter it started to bloom and over the Christmas period was covered in delicate pink flowers!

We live in an instant age and expect everything now. This camellia has reminded me that sometimes we need patience and this is a gift often lacking in our busy city.

The Bible in Ecclesiates says “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens”. As I get older I realise the one thing we can’t change is time – but we can wish it away never to get it back. May you enjoy the good things that come quickly and patiently wait for those that take time to make the most of your life here on earth.