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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Impatience of Impatiens

It's always a bonus to the gardener when our garden presents us with gifts we didn't sow. Is there something in your garden that peeps out at you by surprise from small places or maybe even large places without a thought of whether it was invited or not?

Around Hoe & Shovel the Impatiens are my gift. The soft and simple petals of this common annual are given to an array of colors from white to magenta and everywhere in between. Here they act like perennials if cut back a couple of times a year. Seeding themselves without a care and popping up in all sorts of places-- Impatiens are my impatient but graceful gift.

I've moved quite a few of them from the pathway (above) because once they flourish one cannot find the stones to keep their feet on the path. Transplanting them is easily done by lifting just under the plant in order to pick up the roots. Dig a small hole in a more sutiable location and gently tamp the soil around it. They will gladly move to another home and hardly skip a beat this time of year.

Impatiens make good little volunteers. If I ever have a needy area or a spot of ground missing some flowering activity I can always count on Impatiens to come to the rescue. They thrive and flourish just about anywhere in the shady parts of the garden. The cooler temperatures of this season really cause them to perk up from their bedraggled state from the long hot summer.
Here (above) you can see they have squeezed in between the shampoo ginger and the saw palmettos and decided to show up their pink outfits. One never knows not only where they will appear but the colors they wear is also a surprise. In this section of the front garden they flourish at the base of the forty foot live oaks clustered together to give them filtered sunlight in the afternoons.

The water-retaining properties of our humus soil seems to be the right food sufficient for them to prosper. In this part of the garden where I've never planted any Impatiens they've traveled all by themselves to the feet of the blue porterweed to keep them company.

Once in a while they wiggle their way into an unsuspecting container. Actually, now that I think about it, quite frequently this is the case. This self-sowing decision works out quite well for the gardener. Had I tried to plant one in this pot with the polka dot plant it most likely wouldn't have survived.
There really isn't enough soil in this small pot for all the sharing that's now required but the two of them must have worked out this problem on their own. They are co-habitating quite nicely.

More blush pinks settling in with the coleus and the purple queen. How did they know lavender would work so nicely in this bed?

Impatiens are not recommended by native plant enthusiast for our area due to their abundant requirements for water. I admit they do guzzle more than their share of water in the summertime. But honestly, they make such an easy flowering display every other season I keep telling myself it is worth the trouble in summer. And you can't beat the price or the stamina of these pretty little colorful flowers.

Even though they slip into some cracks and crevices where they force my hand to pluck them away ---most of the time they show up in the right places at the right time. Just about the time the last of the caladiums are fading away (above) up come the Impatiens to take the spotlight and fill in the empty spaces. It is not uncommon for Impatiens to grow in mounds waist high with their neighbors helping them to stand erect.

This gardener welcomes the volunteer spirit of Impatiens and gladly embraces their bounty. Much diligence is given to appropriate planting and nurturing all things growing. When the precious life cycle speaks out in soft lushness unattended it is a heavenly grace providing warm smiles of gardening contentment.

Make your day a happy one. Blessings to you, Meems


  1. I love the determination of the impatiens as well. The frost just got my last container of them night before last. I will cut them back and they will try to make a comeback. If not now, this spring for sure. Great post as usual.

  2. Hi Meems~
    This was a lovely post to read today. I have lots and lots of little volunteer impatients on my patio in various containers. I think I shall follow your lead and plant them in the garden so they reseed at their will.
    The plant that reseeds itself voraciously all over my yard is the salvia coccinea, I have it in red, pink, and white.

    Happy day~

  3. I haven't grown impatiens for ages, yet I do love them. apparently they suffered from downy mildew this year but I think I will buy some next year.

    Interesting to read Darla's comment about them regrowing after being frosted - I have always assumed they were dead - well that is what all the UK literature tells us. Definitely worth a try, especially as we only usually get light frosts.

    Lovely text and photos Meems, thank you for a great post.

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

  4. I planted impatiens in a container on my waterfall patio in spring 2007. The impatiens keep coming back along with a dracena! I have heuchera, jenny and Japanese painted fern in there, so it returned and looked great this year.


    PS My Wave Petunias are the volunteers in my sunny garden.

  5. I think impatiens have such happy little faces. Unfortunately this yard has almost no shade so they wouldn't like it here. I really like your container of them with the polka-dot plant.

  6. I love these flowers from the Victorian period in my shady garden too. When we first moved into our home, our neighbor called them weeds. Now, I notice she has planted them. Or, perhaps mine have seeded there :-). I do wonder how they get up into my hanging baskets though????

  7. I've never been fond of impatiens as they are often scraggly around here..maybe due to needing more water. But your look so nice filling in all over I might try again!

  8. Waist high? Really? Wow! I love impatiens and grow them from seed. I don't have much shade, but impatiens occupy what little I do have.

  9. Dear meems,

    I needed to see your beautiful and colorful garden today...we are having a cold, rainy time of it! It's way too dry here for impatiens but they always look cheerful and pretty in other gardens. They look perfect in yours!


  10. i would love to have all those volunteers here at dash home farm. i hope to one day make this my oasis like you have done, meems.
    btw, i absolutely loved seeing the veggies image from your garden, it feels good to see homegrown beauties, especially in the winter. love it and glad you shared them.

  11. This is one of those rare times when I'm actually familiar with one of your plants! We grow impatiens as annuals here and they are SO great for our shady areas, especially in containers. Yours look so lovely sprinkled throughout your garden. I've never seen so many impatiens blooming at once, in one place. Beautiful display!

  12. A gift indeed! Your reward for watering them all summer. How lucky you are to have such smart self seeders. They seem to know just where to grow and what color to be. I have a few volunteers each year-mostly petunias, and an occasional vine or two. It was such a joy to see all the warmth and color of your garden today. It it brrrr cold outside here.

  13. Your impatiens look lovely in such a natural setting - here in the Uk they tend to used more as bending plants and seem more gaudy

  14. How wonderful that impatiens stay with you and reseed.....that never happens here, the frost always gets them.....They are such a colourful and cheerful bloom.......

  15. I just love those busy lizzies and their cousins Balsams. I grow a few and will still buy a few every now and then for cool spots in the garden. In some of the other islands they grow wild near river banks. Just lovely Meems.

  16. Impatiens are strictly annuals here, and I don't know if the self sew or not, but I don't think they have for me. I love yours!

  17. Very pretty and I'm jealous you still got some. I live to snap the seed pods!

  18. Hi Meems,
    I don't know how I've missed your site until's gorgeous. Anything where I can look at color and flowers is where I want to be! I would love to live in FL at least half of the year! Thank you for your comment on my blog a while back. I'm so happy I found yours. Jan

  19. Your impatiens are wonderful. Don't you love how they come up in the most unexpected places? When I planted masses of them (at our old house), we had them coming up everywhere. At our "new" house, it's sedum. It's amazing where it shows up. Now if I could just get different kinds to show up. :-)

  20. Lucky you, every winter I buy many impatiens for planting around the garden but I get very few volunteers, and must never do well.

  21. Meems,

    I saw this quote and thought of you...

    "I will not say that your Mulberry trees are dead, but I am afraid that they are not alive." (Jane Austen, writing to her sister, Cassandra)

  22. All my impatiens are long gone now Meems. They are a great reseeding annual for the shady areas of my yard.

  23. Darla, As long as they don't freeze to the ground they usually come back very easily. Determination is a very good description of impatiens.

    Karrita, And when you plant them in your garden they end up in other containers as well. That is interesting about your salvia. I've got red ones and found they root very easily from cuttings but haven't noticed any re-seeding. I'll keep my eye for it though because I would like it if they did.

    Sylvia, Have never had a problem with mildew here. Impatiens are full of water so any frost will make them wither and wilty. As long as the roots are not affected you can cut them back and they should bounce back pretty quickly.

  24. Cameron, How nice that wave petunias volunteer for you. We can only grow them from now through the start of summer because they don't like our humid summer. I do love their improvement over the standards don't you?

    Susie, You are right. They do have to have some shade. Isn't it nice that the Impatiens knew to seed as pink in that container? They fit in nicely with the pink polka dots like that.

    Susan, That little story is kind of ironic. My neighbor had them everywhere in her garden and her husband called them weeds. I would not doubt that some of hers are from your garden. It does amaze me how they get into hanging baskets and containers... they know where they like to be!

  25. Leslie, They do like water but with a lack of it they will look wilty. When mine get scraggly or leggy I just cut them back. The stems can get very thick and mature toward the bottom when you do this which will in turn produce a larger plant.

    Robin, I remember following your seedlings last winter. Now that kind of nurturing takes a patient gardener!

    Gail, I hear you. I can't imagine that Impatiens would be too happy in clay or limestone... like you said ... too dry. This is one you'll have to admire elsewhere... and I will keep admiring your susans!

    Marmee, The veggie garden is quite a source of joy this fall. I can't tell you how much easier it has been than in the spring. NO BUGS! I think the unusually cold air has slowed the production of fruit but I'm not complaining... it has been a good learning experience.

  26. Amy, they are definitely happy little faces sprinkled all over the garden. I can imagine yours look quite compact and full in your short growing season. They probably really love the cooler air there.

    Beckie, We've had a warm week in the 70's this week so lots of outdoor time here. I would just love to have petunias volunteer for me. They just don't like our heat.

    Patientgardener, Here they are used in commercial settings as well but because they must have shade that limits their use somewhat.

    Cheryl, I think you are noting why they are called annuals in most climates. They are definitely colorful and cheery when they are blooming.

    Islandgal, That must be a sight! Growing wild and near river beds.

    Sue, You are probably right that your annuals don't self sow. but they surely can be useful as an welcomed annual.

    Anna, Snap away, my friend! You are too funny.

  27. Jan, Thanks for stopping by... I'm glad you liked it. This would be the half you would want to be here. Now is when it is divine!

    Kim, Sedum is nice to have come up unexpectedly too. You are reminding me I must check to see if sedum will grow here... I really like it.

  28. Rusty, I wonder if it is the soil or the heat down there? They really are thirsty when its humid but they also need mostly shade.

    AM, Thanks... I do love the way she writes.

    PGL, Oh, good... I'm glad to know they re-seed for you too. I can picture them looking very bright in your garden.


Have a blessed day,

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