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Letters from the Garden

allium christophii

It might be summer, but it’s time to think about spring

A quick note: This post is done in partnership with Longfield Gardens, where I’ve been getting my fall-planted bulbs from for probably a decade (well before they knew I existed). Thanks to Longfield for the support. All words and thoughts are, as usual, my own. Bear with me for a moment here, because I have startling news: It’s time to …

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January’s perfect garden plans dashed by summer’s realities

As we approach the best days of summer it seems odd to be looking back at January with a bit of envy. Certainly that feeling has nothing to do with the weather (perish the thought), but there’s a part of me that longs for the kind of blind enthusiasm that comes in the middle of winter. In the depth of …

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Don’t let the garden stop at the lot line

This post is sponsored by Troy-Bilt, maker of great equipment to whip your yard into shape and supporters of neighbors helping neighbors. As usual, all thoughts are my own. Isn’t it funny how we limit our gardens to the little square of land we own? Obviously there’s a reason for this, but if the only thing stopping us from blurring …

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newly painted obelisk

Chalk one up for ‘good enough’ in the garden

My garden has taught me a lot of lessons, but one of the most important is that good enough is usually good enough. When perfectionist tendencies rise to the surface, the garden is the perfect place to tamp them back into place. There is only so much a control a gardener can have over what happens in a garden. And …

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dahlias planted in border

Dahlias love garden friends

Thank you to Longfield Gardens for sponsoring this post and feeding my love of dahlias. Over the next couple weeks I will go through all the dahlia tubers I overwintered and plant them up in pots along with all the new tubers I just had to have. Starting dahlias in pots works well for me in part because I mostly …

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Hellebore Spanish Flare

Savoring signs of spring

Spring comes painfully slow here, something that I’m alternately thankful for and tormented by. It’s nearly intolerable to see the beauty of spring, all fresh green and flowery coming to other yards in warmer areas when mine is mostly still brown. But the upside is that I always feel like I get a bit of reprieve on some of those …

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A summer of bouquets

I found myself with a bit of extra time at home last summer (imagine that) and, inspired by the amazing floral designers who I see sharing their work on Instagram, I decided I would try to get a little better at making bouquets. Mind you, I don’t do anything with these bouquets other than enjoy them myself or give them …

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The Impatient Gardener blog was started in 2009 and its library of posts includes practical how-tos, plant guides, favorite garden gear, successes and failures and much more. If you’re looking for something specific, the search function at the top of the page can help.

When the world was busy panic-buying toilet paper, I was busy panic-sowing.  As it became clear that the novel coronavirus pandemic was going to change life, at least for awhile, I was in the middle of my regularly scheduled indoor seed starting. I had made a quiet promise to myself that this year, for once, […]

As you probably know, I live in the land of the delayed spring. So when I started getting questions from a couple people asking about why their tulips and other bulbs were short I didn’t think much of it. Maybe they planted them too deep or had something funky going on with the bulbs they […]

In a very random Instagram moment over the weekend—a hastily shot story made while practically running past the compost as I dashed around trying to get a few jobs done before it rained—I showed an exciting compost-related development: a second bin! OK, very few things related to compost can possibly be classified as exciting, but […]

Do I dare? Do I dare even get my hopes up that we may indeed be having an early spring and trust that we will roll right into a warm spring and a “normal” summer?  You know the answer to that. I absolutely should not do that and yet I will. I am.  This year’s […]

After you garden for awhile, you start to get a pretty good idea of what kind of gardener you are. Your style and approach to garden tasks becomes pretty clear. And after two decades of gardening in some form, I think my weak point is clear: restraint. As much as I know that restraint is […]

I don’t often talk about houseplants here, and on the rare occasion that I do, it’s done reluctantly. I’m just not all that comfortable with them, and I certainly don’t have the passion for them that I have for all the great things that grow outdoors.  I have a few houseplants that get special treatment […]

I have to admit something. I cried watching a gardening television show. Not during the reveal of some kind of makeover for a deserving family. Nope. I cried watching Monty Don talk about American gardens.  Let me back up a bit. For those who are unfamiliar, Monty Don is perhaps the most well-known gardener in […]

Well I’m predictable, that’s for sure.  Every couple years, almost without fail, I take on a really big garden project. I cannot explain what compels me to follow this arbitrary yet somehow predictable schedule, but I do. And so, since I spent much of 2018 building the dream vegetable garden, and part of last year […]

Most winters, I make it until at least January before I start ordering plants for a gardening summer that might as well be a light year away, but this year I got a head start. It wasn’t my intention to start buying when I should have been Christmas shopping for other people, but the early […]