Check Out These Pages, Too!

"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.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Please Don't Sit on the Impatiens

One of the most peaceful settings in my garden is in the back yard. Turn a corner from the circle garden and meander down the pathway through the area we call the tropical garden. It is deeply shaded in the centermost sections except for streams of morning light illuminating selected parts. In the late afternoon the angled sunrays from the west reach beneath the oak canopy to again brighten spots and provide soft sunlight.

In the hottest part of the day it is the coolest place to be due to the mature oak trees spreading their limbs over the expanse of it. The plantlife densely sited throughout really appreciates the shade and the protection those trees offer from the brutal sunshine of the day. I am drawn to it because of the restful feeling this area in my garden provides.

Among the many layers of foliage, designed carefully for a lush tropical feel, is a colorful array of impatiens scattered throughout.

Funny thing about all those shade-loving impatiens in these photos is that not one has been planted by me. Every one of them has come up as a volunteer.

They are pretty little things this time of year but, by nature, demand excessive amounts of water. They are not a plant I ever recommend for Florida for that reason. Mine are forced to survive on the regular weekly irrigation and rainfall (when we get it) as I refuse to baby them.

They also tell a story thriving in clumps all around the seating; those chairs along the tropical pathway are not getting enough use are they!

Usually I pull stray impatiens like weeds but somehow I let these grow this spring. Now that the chairs look like they are the ones growing out of the plants I can't bring myself to disturb the surprise, unplanned scenery. As summer extends they'll get lanky and leggy and I'm sure I'll have the courage to pull them out then.

Some garden surprises turn out for the best.

Still upcoming the second part of Naturalistic Gardens (I didn't forget). :-)


  1. Good Morning Meems. I can just see you later this summer sitting in that chair in the shade taking a break with a cold glass of iced tea. Your clippers are resting on the table. Wait a are not pulling out the impatients. You are trimming them back so that next year they will be even thicker.

    Can you guess....I have a hard time pulling up healthy plants unless they have really offended me.

    Have a great week!

  2. Your garden looks so lush that you'd think we get tons of regular rain! How wonderful that you have been blessed with these volunteers.
    Thank you for the marvelous photos.

  3. I have even had imapatients seed themselves here. The only bad thing is that they have done it in the crack of the patio. Ha.. I am always surprised when certain flowers show up in that crack. When I have tried to plant seeds in that crack they don't come up. Ha.. Isn't that the way of gardening? Cheers.

  4. Impatiens are such sweet, happy flowers, but they are water guzzlers that's for sure. I have one white right now, in a pot, hanging in a shady area.

    I love that area of your gardens. A really lovely, peaceful place to want to sit and contemplate life with a nice cold glass of iced tea or lemonade.

    Enjoy ~ FlowerLady

  5. I bet all your neighbors come around, coffee in hand, hinting for an invite to sit in those great chairs. I would! I guess I'm immpatient with impatiens. I never give them enough water and they croak on me. Yours are beautiful!

  6. Siesta Sister,
    If it was any other volunteer I probably would be clipping them back so they'd come out fuller. I could move the chairs and let them go. But with impatiens they will come back on their own and if I don't pull them they will more than take over. :-)

    It's the shade and plant choice. I am allowed to water 2x's each week according to county regulations. Unfortunately it has been necessary to run the irrigation that often since we are experiencing drought. Hopefully the afternoon rains will kick in soon and we'll turn it off for the summer.

    Isn't that always the way. Plants know where they want to be and naturalized they seem to thrive.

    Water guzzlers for certain... also sweet and colorful. They aren't worth the trouble to me anymore. I used to force them everywhere with lots of hand watering but what a waste of time. Now that they seed themselves in the shadiest places I think we've met a happy medium.

    I think they can't get enough water. My neighbors tease me about NOT sitting down in the seating.

  7. LOL...It would be difficult NOT to sit on those impatiens. Love how the chairs seem to be rising up from the flowers. I am a big fan of impatiens, having had huge, impressive swaths in an old garden way back when. I nearly gave up on them here in this garden, but just this past year, I discovered that there is a spot in my garden where they flourish. They actually do not wilt or wither at any point during the day....seriously. I think that area has the perfect combination of moisture, humus, and shade. Of course, I still have them in a few "wilty" areas, where they only look good in the cooler hours or right after rain.

  8. I'm glad to see you've let those volunteer impatiens live and bloom. They look beautiful in their chosen spot. I have some that have been coming back too, but they are not nearly as huge as yours. I love the impatiens but now only let the re-seeders come back as they wish. That way they seem to be content with the water they are given and aren't too demanding. What a beautiful view of your tropical pathway.

  9. How lucky to get such pretty volunteers! I buy them whenever I can, Meems, because they're one of the few blooms which are really happy in the deep shade under my cashew trees. But come monsoon and they either rot away or the snails get them . I must try keeping them in pots next time so I can move them to a drier place (there is such a thing as too much water for water-guzzlers too)

  10. Simply beautiful, Meems, and especially wonderful is how things "happen" in the garden. I am always surprised when I have one of those "where did that come from" moment. Those particular impatiens would not survive in our garden: summers are not and dry and we simply water very little; drought tolerant is what we have to do.

  11. I also have impatiens volunteer coming up in lots of places, and unfortunately I don't have much shade area for them, so I have to pull most of them up. But I did plug some into whatever shade pocket I can find. Your sitting area with the colorful impatiens looks so peaceful. Sitting among the flowers is always something I dreamed about :)

  12. I love impatiens, too. Planted a bunch this year, which was not too Central Texas, in the middle of exceptional drought. They do like the water. But, they're hanging in there, so far.

    Love that 'accidental design'.

  13. Your impatiens look great for unplanned volunteers. My are done for the season, even the ones in the shade.

  14. I agree completely with you about impatiens not being a great choice for anyone trying to cultivate a Florida-adapted, drought-tolerant garden. But I also agree with your letting the volunteers sprout where they will -- they seem to have toughened up and are living by your "rules" quite happily. The "accidental interloper" in my garden seems to be vinca. Talk about a hardy plant! The periwinkles are so persistent year after year, and so drought-tolerant that I always let a few come up where they will, knowing I NEVER have to water them.

  15. We always love those free plants. They do add so much color to your seating area Meems. Makes a lovely spot to think about setting down. LOL!

  16. That looks so inviting - the chairs among the flowers. I find that when I try to plant impatiens they don't flourish, but the volunteers always do well.

  17. My neighbor once told me that the varying shades of pink impatiens are the most prolific in spreading throughout the garden. He was right as I discovered when I planted orange and white...only the pink returned in large numbers. They do fill in nicely and add lots of color to the shady areas of the garden.

  18. Meems - I think I would have to squeeze in beside the impatiens and settle down into one of those chairs for a bit, just to "think about" how badly I really wanted to get rid of those flowers. I know they suck water, but they sure are refreshing to the spirit.

  19. In this case I would definitely let nature take its course because those are my kind of weeds. I need to plant some more impatiens in hopes of at least a few volunteering after being frozen out. They have given you a beautiful fairy garden, Meems. So sweet and peaceful. And thanks again for featuring my blog.

  20. Floridagirl,
    So nice to see you back! I know you love impatiens and I guess I do, too. I've decided these volunteers are the only ones to love. The perfect combination is the key.

    The re-seeders seem to know where they want to be... although I have some growing in sunnier spots, too, that just keep returning. They wilt midday and perk back up later. If I tried to 'plant' them in those spots they would have a hard time even getting established. Nature... sometimes you just have to let her do the work.

    Too much water... when I hear you speak of the monsoons I am always intrigued. What an issue to have to deal with... although right now we could use rain desperately. Impatiens are one of the only colorful flowering annuals for deep shade. Once started here they become perennials.

    Drought tolerant is a must here as well as we have been in severe drought conditions for a very long time. But the dense shade creates a micro climate that allows for some breaking of those rules that apply for the rest of the garden.

  21. Ami,
    It is a peaceful place any time of the year. It is also the pathway I use to get to the compost piles so I pass by several times a day. Impatiens are tough little flowers in the correct situations. I'm glad you've been able to keep a few in the shady areas.

    Your shade will probably help keep them going for you. Maybe next year you won't need to 'plant' them. :-)

    Wow... I guess they just can't handle the Miami heat. (unlike the
    Dallas Mavericks). :-)

    I have some periwinkles that have returned over and over for many years. Even though I let them live wherever they pop up they haven't figured out how to come up together to make a really pretty display. I think I'm going to help them out this year by purchasing additional ones to fill in. :-)(which I never would have imagined doing a few years ago-- who spends $$$ on vinca?)

  22. Grace,
    Thank you.

    It actually is a cool place to sit and contemplate... I need to do that more often. lol

    That seems to be the theme I'm hearing with all the warm climate gardeners. I just hate to see unknowing folks purchasing impatiens every year only to have them perish after a short season.

    I don't think I've noticed that in my garden. I am going to make a point to see if it rings true here as well.

    Impatiens really are cheery and refreshing. They bloom profusely many months out of the year which is the easy draw to them.

    As a low-lying colorful shade plant they are quite nice for a weedy-volunteer. I've probably pulled out as many as I have let them be. I was trying to keep that pathway clear... oh well... it IS more naturalistic which is what I'm always wanting as well. :-)

  23. I just found your blog via a google search for central Florida gardening blogs.. What a great place/blog you have here.
    My family and I just moved into an older home in Deland and we are slowly working on the landscaping.
    I'm looking forward to following your blog and gleaning TONS of great information from it.
    You can visit our home blog at:

    Have a great week

  24. I love the blue and white mixture and the idea of placing a couple of rocks. I love that area of your garden. A really lovely and peaceful place to want to sit and relax! Thanks for such good post.
    wood fences


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway