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Letters from the Garden

David Austin 'The Alnwick Rose'

Winter care for roses in cold climates

FYI: I’ve posted an update to how this all worked out at the bottom! I am not a rose expert. In fact, longtime readers may recall that it wasn’t too long ago that I publicly swore that I would never grow roses again. The problem with making such declarations is that it’s difficult to hide from them when just a …

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There is no Christmas tree in my house. That, of course, was not the plan. The plan was to be ahead of the game this year, but once again it’s the last minute and nothing is done. I’m tempted to just skip the tree at this point, but we did that last year and I feel like skipping a tree …

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One of my favorite projects to do this time of year is decorate outside with winter containers. In the past I’ve used a combination of found and purchased materials. I always cut my own red twig dogwood because the even though the dogwood you can buy is brighter, straighter and, by all accounts, prettier, it’s also incredibly expensive. I also …

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Friday Finds


Winter came back. I knew it would. I knew that this mild winter and early spring that we were blessed with was just too good to be true, but mentally I had moved on. The end of the week brought us horrible weather and this morning the trees were shimmering with ice on their branches and every sign of live …

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I have rarely felt a case of the gardener guilts in mid-December. Gardeners are allowed to go whole hog on the holidays because, for most of us, there are few gardening tasks to be tackled at this time of year. The garden has been put to bed for the winter and it’s too early to plant seeds for next spring’s …

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I’m a late Christmas decorator. At least it seems late, since I usually finish it up a couple weeks before Christmas, which is apparently late these days. But I like to take advantage of milder weather to do my outdoor containers, which is easily my favorite holiday project. I’m busy gathering materials now. I picked up some $6 wreaths at …

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My favorite holiday decorations are the ones I do outside. It’s partly because they brighten up what is otherwise a pretty dreary landscape, but also because the decorations outside, particularly the containers, provide the most decorating bang for the buck.I love how with a few collected (and some purchased) materials you can create something that is really beautiful. These containers …

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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 […]