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Letters from the Garden


A test garden that truly puts plants to the test

Whew.  Life has been a whirlwind lately. Right around June life always starts getting busy. There’s the usual busy-ness of summer and I managed to add to that by having a group of master gardeners tour my garden in August. And just when I thought I’d get a breather, work got busy. Somehow here we are rapidly approaching Halloween and …

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Snow-covered sedum

How to suck the ambition out of a gardener

Well this was not in my plan.  An early season snowfall has put a damper on my fall gardening plans and even worse, it has pretty much killed any desire I have to be in the garden. It’s just so hard to get inspired to garden when the option is getting your winter gloves dirty or freeze wearing just your …

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Acer japonicum 'Acontifolium' fall color

A changing, and challenged, landscape

We’ve been enjoying a particularly beautiful fall here. Beautiful not in terms of weather, as gray days have far outnumbered those crisp, sunny fall days with royal blue skies, but the trees have put an amazing show. Last year, a late-summer drought stressed trees, plants and gardeners alike, dropping leaves to the ground before most had a chance to develop …

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how to build a fire pit

From empty yard to s’mores in an afternoon

This post is a paid partnership with Lowe’s Home Improvement, but all words, opinions and the recipe for the perfect s’more for non-marshmallow lovers are my own. If Mother Nature is feeling generous we’ll enjoy a long autumn with a few excellent Indian summer days mixed in for good measure. I know I spend a fair amount of time griping …

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verbena bonariensis withstands frost in fall.

The autumn garden: Beautifully alive and definitely dead

We’ve had several frosts now (Indian Summer, where are you?) so the garden is a mishmosh of dead and alive right now. Some things are looking great and so much else is looking terrible. I’ve been trying to take some mental notes for the future. I went heavier on the annuals this year than I would have liked, in part …

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how to store your garden tools for winter.

The perfect way to store your tools (and an OK way that works too)

We interrupt your frantic season-end gardening for a quick message. This post is sponsored by 3-IN-ONE®  Multi-Purpose Oil and Lava® Soap, but all words and opinions are entirely my own. This post may also include affiliate links. Thanks for supporting the brands that support this blog. There is a “right” way to store your garden tools over winter: clean, sharp …

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Late season vegetable harvest

The first frost, the last harvest and a big project nearly complete

Well that was abrupt. Without a lot of lead-up, we had hard frost. And just like that, the growing part of the gardening season is over. I didn’t take the threat of a freeze too seriously because we usually escape the first few frosts that affect even areas just an eighth of a mile away. The moderating effect of Lake …

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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.

Thank you to Wave Petunias for partnering with me on this post.  I’m often asked a question that is perplexing to me: “Do you grow annuals or perennials?” I don’t fault the people asking the question as I think there are some people who grow one or the other, and perhaps that was more typical […]

Nothing stops me in my tracks more than when I’m looking at a garden jam-packed with color and texture and come across a spot of bare soil. It puts a screeching halt to well-planned flow.  Gaps in the garden happen because the plant that was supposed to be growing there didn’t, or perhaps because other […]

What more can we ask from a gardening book than to be inspirational and education? Two new books with more than a little in common manage to strike the right balance of both, complimenting each other, much as the personalities of these enthusiastic and generally delightful gardeners do. Claus Dalby, the Danish gardener known for […]

If there is a support group for planter addicts, let me know, because I need it. I love a good container, but finding one is a different matter.  I have two non-negotiable requirements for most planters: they need to be big and they need to look good. Weight, style and even cost are all things […]

Is there any task that has so many rules and yet so many people tackling it in different methods more than growing plants from seeds? It can make the whole process even more confusing. Each way to start seeds has its pros and cons, and although some are better than others for starting particular seeds, […]

There’s a well-established garden-making process around here: Every other year I make a new garden space. It is a lot of work, puts me behind in other areas of my arguably already too-large garden and takes a bit bite out of the plant budget. By the end of the project I swear I’m all done […]

What can I say about the 2021 garden? I have been putting off thinking about it too much because well, I have regrets, and when we are only given so many summers in this lifetime, it stinks to use one on a garden that you don’t love. Don’t get me wrong, I am way more […]

No matter how much I’d like to be one of those people who makes notes throughout the year of gift ideas for family and friends, I am but a mere mortal who, in the throes of a panicked gift-buying season, ends up scouring online gift guides that claim to know the innermost desires of the […]

At a time of year when there’s no shortage of faux decor—faux trees, faux berries, faux garlands, faux mistletoe, for starters—it’s nice to have a few real plants around. The plants we typically think of as “holiday” plants don’t usually bloom at this time of year. Rather, they are forced (although perhaps “t

Growing oddball plants—those plants that aren’t commonly grown in the area—is almost always rewarding. Since there is no real way to measure success, any sign of a plant doing what it’s supposed to do is chalked up in the win column. In other words, I keep my expectations low and hope to be pleasantly surprised. […]

Thank you to Inside Outside House & Garden for partnering with me on my post. As usual, all words and thoughts are mine. Check out the promo code at the end for a free trial. “No new gardens.” Perhaps you’ve heard me say this a few times before, but it turns out no matter how […]

I’ll admit it: My gardener brain switched into fall to-do list mode awhile ago. But somewhere along the line in between planning where bulbs will go and remembering which plants need to be moved, I looked up and found some great plants showing off in the garden. It was, once again, a good reminder to […]

This time of year is all about soaking in the garden and making mental (or more likely, photographic) notes about what worked and what didn’t. Some things are as simple as a plant that just didn’t perform or as complicated as being happy with how a design sketched on paper came to fruition. But somewhere […]