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Letters from the Garden



In my part of the world we crave blue hydrangeas. We try to change the pH of our soil to coax anything vaguely resembling blue from a hydrangea prone to blue flowers. One year I had a bit of success and celebrated when a half-pink, half-light blue flower showed up on my Nikko blue hydrangea. I think we raised a …

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Wanted: A good old-fashioned rainstorm

I know that many of you in the south and central parts of the country are very familiar with droughts, but it’s a new thing to me. Obviously we’ve gone long stretches without rain, but that’s usually in August. Never before have I seen this area so in need of water. I’ve been adapting to situation fairly well for a …

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Charmed, I’m sure

This year, like the past two, I’ve received a box of plants from Proven Winners to grow as part of their garden writers program. Most of them are varieties that won’t be available until next year and it’s always fun to give them a trial run. You’ll be hearing about more of them as I go into more depth about …

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Clematis in bloom

The group 2 clematis are starting to wind down their blooming party, making way for the group 3s, which are starting to think about putting some buds on. You saw the picture of one of the Guernsey Creams showing off its colors against a Japanese painted fern, and I missed taking a picture of the best showing of Mrs. N. …

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The apple tree in my garden

A couple weekends ago I planted an apple tree in my garden. Yep, a real, live apple tree, smack dab in the middle of my “main” garden right off the patio. It’s a gala, to be exact. Before you go thinking that the lack of water around here has obviously dehydrated my brain along with our soil, let me explain …

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2012 Containers

I have a little obsession with container gardening. I don’t know what it is about container gardening that gets me so fired up, but I can say that it my favorite thing to do in the garden. It might be because it allows for a lot of creativity, but I think it’s because it appeals to my impatient nature. In …

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A gardener’s dream shopping spree

Thanks for your patience with the minimal amount of posts last week. When I’m writing at work I’m so engrossed in it that I have a really hard time writing about anything else simultaneously. So I need to bring you up to date on what was maybe the best shopping trip ever. I’ve mentioned Klehm’s Song Sparrow Nursery before as …

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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.

Welcome to my biggest of all gardening pet peeves: Leaky hose nozzles. I’m so irritated with having water dripping down my air every time I try to water. Every year I buy one or more new nozzles in hope of finding the holy grail of watering wands. I’m not asking for a lot. I just […]

I’ve been keeping an eye on this all spring, and hoping things would be fine, but it’s not looking good. Last spring I bought a gorgeous Kamagata Japanese maple from Lucile at Whitman Farms. I adore this tree and it was gorgeous last year. In winter I treated it just like my other Japanese maple: […]

I caught my mother rubbing her eggplant this weekend. Relax, it’s OK, really. She was just giving it a little leaf massage. Seems she read “somewhere” that massaging the leaves will make it produce better. I can’t tell you where “somewhere” is because neither of us knows. We read so many magazines, blogs and Web

It always amazes me how quickly the wooded area of our property is taken over by Ostrich ferns. May 8 May 14 May 31 (pay no attention to the path of inflourescence-looking stuff. I spread some DE the day before. Oh and yeah … all that stuff in the foreground is garlic mustard weed that […]

The scene of the crime. And this isn’t even all of them! Do they offer plantaholic 12-step programs? I’m seriously thinking I may need to find one. Noticing that my “holding area” (formerly the pit of despair, but somewhat spruced up) is getting a little tight, I took a count of the plants I need […]

Our Master Gardeners Heirloom Plant and Herb Sale was held May 23 and I was in charge of door prizes and gift bags, which means that I got to call up companies during one of the worst recessions in a long time and ask them for donations. Many have said “No, not this year.” And […]

Garden art or a tree stuck in the ground upside down? You make the call! I’m a big fan of garden art, but not such a big fan of paying for it. Fortunately, I’m also a fan of driftwood, so I’m always on the lookout for interesting pieces. A couple years ago I found a […]

Remember how I said my Disneyland rose didn’t make it through the winter? I was truly convinced it was a goner. All of the wood was dead. Fortunately my procrastination habit has finally paid off! I didn’t pull it out of the ground. I’m not sure if it’s because I was dreading dealing with the […]

I love the most recent post from Michael Tortorello’s New York Times blog. I’ve been following Michael’s misadventures of a new gardener with his first vegetable garden with interest (and frankly, a little bit of jealousy. Is the NYT paying him for this? How come I didn’t think to pitch that idea?) He’s talking about [

This is dicentra Gold Heart, and she has become a star in our garden. I picked it up at the hardware store two or three years ago and even though she’s not in a great spot for a bleeding heart (west exposure) she just keeps getting bigger and bigger (and is currently taking over a […]

All the dahlias, sorted and waiting (no, begging!) to be planted. Well I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. Memorial Day is sort of do-or-die time around here for gardening stuff so the extra day off was much needed. And what a day it was. But like most you, I never get to the […]

Well, I’ve not posted much this week because I’ve been über busy with our Master Gardeners’ sponsored Heirloom Plant and Herb Sale. Today was the big set-up day. It’s amazing, actually, 11,000 plants doesn’t look like that many in an enormous gymnasium. I love this sale. I shopped at it a long time before I […]

I never used to care much about the name of a plant. Cripes, who can care about names when you’re worried about whether it will grow or not? Then I started to read a lot about theme gardens. A lot of people make gardens in honor of someone. So they try to find cultivars of […]