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Letters from the Garden



I forget how difficult it is to keep on top of photos when Daylight Savings Time ends. Seems like I’m only home when it’s dark these days. The deep freeze is scheduled to arrive this week and stick around for at least a week. Temperatures next week will struggle to break 20. In other words, it was time to get …

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I have had a lot of favorite/top posts in the works and was planning to run them over the course of a week, but this is my 600th post on this blog so I thought it should be something a bit meatier, and today I’m bringing you five perennials I wouldn’t be without. These are plants that are complete no-brainers …

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Four-star perennials

Last Saturday I attended a garden seminar (I just love going to garden seminars and shows in late winter; it is so fun to dream) where Richard Hawke, the plant evaluation manager for the Chicago Botanic Garden was the keynote speaker. I’ve gone to a lot of seminars, speeches, talks, etc. for work and pleasure, and Hawke was one of …

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'Mrs. N. Thompson' clematis

When plants become a collection

Creating a garden starts out as an innocent pursuit. You just want a pretty patch of flower or vegetables that flows and looks beautiful at least three seasons out of four. But there is that one plant that outshines the others. It outperforms them by looking great or by being the big, bold bright spot that everyone comments on. And …

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Expert bloggers' favorite perennial picks

I’ve been trying to deny the calling of the seed catalogs and the desire to peek at the vernal witch hazel and the warmest corners near the house where the bulbs come up first (it is only January, after all) but there is only so much a gardener can do during an unseasonably warm winter. That’s why I called on …

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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 […]