Category Archives: Impatiens



You may recall that earlier this spring I made another attempt at figuring out my patio pots.

Years of so so results had left me not at all excited about container gardening.

I’m pleased to report I think I’ve figured it out.

My theory was all wrong.

For years I have planted lots

And I mean lots of small bedding plants.

Petunias, marigolds, petunias…

I always picked a variety in case it was a bad year for a particular plant.

It had worked lots of places that I had lived and gardened.

But for some reason the theory was all wrong here.

I think it’s because the pots are so big

And I couldn’t put anything tall  like a topiary basket

in the middle since it would block the view from the breakfast room.

So this year I went for fewer bigger plants.

I mean bigger in every sense of the word.

The plants were bigger when I started

and their grown habit is bigger in the end.

The center is deep red Dipladenia.

Though the one that’s in the sun all day fades a bit.

Both pots had Nierembergia that wintered over.

Mostly purple.

To that I added golden Lantana

and blue Plumbago

Those are the “big” plants.

I did fill in with Gomphrena

Impatients on the shady side

and even a few Petunias.

Initially I left last winter’s lettuce.

Bit by bit it was pulled up and the new plants allowed to fill in.

It was a very good idea. 

I never had huge holes

Which made for a smooth transition.

Now chances are that because I have so many plants

that at maturity are big enough to fill the pots on their own.

That they will get way to big in the next month or so.

I’ve come up with what is, for me, a novel solution.


You may realize by now that I have a hard time reigning things in.

Myself included.

So as the Lantana heads across the steps to join hands with its sister in the pot on the other side.

I’m thinking it’s ok to whiddle on it a bit.

We’ll see.

Enjoy the week.



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Filed under container gardening, Dipladenia, Gardening, Gomphrena, Impatiens, Lantana, Nierembergia, Plumbago, Uncategorized


A few years ago we re-did the back patio.

Lifting all the worn out brick,

Expanding it a bit and

Replacing it with new brick.

At the same time we bought GIANT new pots

Traditional Rolled Rim Italian clay were our choice

Rolled Rim Italian Clay

Rolled Rim Italian Clay

I think we were on the garden tour that first year.

So I invested in fantastic pink tropical Hibiscus.

Glorious in the green house

Not a bloom on them the weekend of the garden tour!

Thus began my years of problem pots.

I won’t bore you with  year by year disaster stories.

Suffice it to say that I’ve had trouble finding the right mix.

Last fall I murdered the mile high purple fountain grass.

Last Year's Attempt

Last Year’s Attempt

It was great till it grew so tall I couldn’t see my garden from the breakfast room

And…the wind blew it over onto the flowers.

So out it went.

For lack of a better idea I just planted them to lettuce.

Peg Checking on the Lettuce

Peg Checking on the Lettuce

Made sense to me.

The pots are close to the kitchen

For easy cutting.

And with the mild winter I had terrific lettuce for months on end.

Now that it’s late spring it’s starting to bolt

And taste a little bitter.

Besides I’m having  a luncheon in my garden next week

So I had to do something.

The answer came at my friend Susan’s front door.

Dipladenia Deep Red !

Dipladenia Deep Red

Dipladenia Deep Red

I found it at my favorite local nursery in hanging baskets.

Brought them home and was ready to pull up all the lettuce.

When I stopped.

Let’s try just pulling up only the lettuce I need to make room for the new plants.

Leave the rest for filler.

Great idea.

Along with the Lettuce, Nierembergia survived the winter

And is blooming wildly…more filler.

Winter Survivors: Nierembergia & Lettuce

Winter Survivors: Nierembergia & Lettuce


Next I added True Yellow Lantana, plumbago, Gomphrena, and Purple and White Petunias.

White Cascade Petunia  "Short-Term Annual"

White Cascade Petunia “Short-Term Annual”


I know, I swore off petunias last year.

But they sucked me in so

I did a paradigm shift.

I don’t expect them to survive the whole summer. 

I now consider them “short-term annuals”!

Don’t buy very many and tuck them close to something that will live.

And again, I only removed the lettuce that was necessary.

The end result is well, great in my book.

Full & Finished !

Full & Finished !

The pots look full.

Much fuller than normal for this time of year.

As the plants grow, the lettuce will die.

Nature will take its course.

Love when that happens.

Enjoy the week.


Saturday Morning Visitor

Saturday Morning Visitor

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Filed under container gardening, Dipladenia, Gardening, Gomphrena, Impatiens, Lantana, Lettuce, Nierembergia, Petunia, Uncategorized


One of the interesting things about gardening for me is how we learn.

For the most part the knowledge is handed down from one generation to another.

It’s informal.

Passed over garden fences.

Or we just watch.

Ask questions.

I learned about gardens from a series of wonderful women in my life.

It began as most things do….

With my mother.

Mom among her roses. Judging by the hair I'm thinking 60's - 70's?

Mother was not a detail person.

She painted with a broad brush…

I learned that lesson well.

She was fearless when it came to much of life.

She would try to grow anything and lots of it.

So though I cannot attribute exact knowledge to her, she is critical to how I garden.

That I garden.

She gave me gumption…for gardening….for life.


Her mother – Grandma also gardened.

Pat's photo of Grandma circa 1960's

I have very specific memories of a most fragrant rose-bush by her door.

Variety unknown.

I never plant a rose that isn’t loaded with fragrance.

There was also a Bridal Veil Spirea on the west side of her house that would bloom near Memorial Day each year. 

Grandma in front of her bank of Bridal Veil Spirea

And Irises.

But mostly there was the wash-house.

In the summers she gave it over to my sisters, our cousins and me for a play house.

So many memories of little girls making up stories.

Dressing up.

It is the inspiration for my own garden house.

My current “play house”.


If your lucky women who love gardens and nature keep coming into your life.

I was.

My mother-in-law, Geraldine had grown up in Arkansas during the Depression and knew how to grow everything.  



"Grammy" and Elliott



She was more attentive to details….small things.

From her I learned to look closely.

To take it in slowly.

She could propagate anything and everything.

Simply put it in a jar of water and roots would sprout.

Unfortunately, I didn’t ask her to teach me that before she died.

Wish I had been paying more attention.


Then when Elliott was about 3 we moved next door to a gracious woman named Geraldine. 

 Imagine 4 women…2 named Geraldine!

Geraldine circa 1980'2

Each spring I would drive her to the nursery.

I would watch how she shopped.

With perennials always buy 3….never 1.

Make sure you have lots of variety.

And New England Aster – the fall blooming ones that come on just before mums.

Those were a favorite of hers and now mine.

She was gracious to her fingertips answering endless questions and taking us into her heart.


All of these women are gone now.

But they live on in my garden and in me.

On this Memorial Day weekend I thank them.

I remember them.


So…what happened in my garden this week.

Mostly, it rained!


But here and there I snuck in a bit of gardening.

Cassidy and I planted Mammoth Sunflowers.



If they haven’t washed away they should sprout and grown to 7 or 8 feet tall.

They’ll be peaking their sunny faces over the fence later on in the summer.

More deadheading of the New Dawn roses along the fence.

I’m finally putting my basil babies in the ground since the nights are consistently over 50 degrees. 

This is much later than usual.

Since most shady perennials are finished blooming sometime in June I tuck impatiens in here and there in the shady areas of my garden.

Hostas and Impatiens for summer color.


This will give bright spots of color for the rest of the season.

I also plant any caladiums that I dug last fall.

They always seem to shrink over the winter so we’ll see how that goes.

But mostly this week I’ve enjoyed my garden.

The larkspur and poppies are blooming at random as is their self seeding nature.

The strawberries are coming on strong.

Time to bake tiny strawberries pies in my mother’s harvest pie pans.

 The neighbor’s mulberry tree is dropping mulberries into our yard which I love.

It’s a trip back to my childhood.

I know they are messy but there is nothing as wonderful as picking mulberries off the tree and eating them as fast as you can pick.

I introduced Cassidy to this tradition and she agrees.

Unfortunately, I also mentioned to her that Peg loves fresh snap peas.

She and John have fed Peg most of the crop so far.


So Mom, Grandma, Geraldine and Geraldine your love of gardens and gardening lives on in me and in the next generation with Elliott and Kristina.

We are passing it along to the neighbors…over the fence.








Filed under Basil, Gardening Mentors, Impatiens, roses, Strawberries, sugar snap peas