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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.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Please Don't 'Walk' on the Impatiens

Impatiens are a hardy and colorful plant for shady to partial-shady areas of the garden. Considered an annual yet they are very prolific in returning after being frosted back in winter. None have been purposely planted in this garden in many years.

They readily seed themselves into container gardens, in between perennials, they pop up in convenenient locations and some not-so-convenient places. Just like weeds. Albeit pretty weeds.

Frequent readers might recall when I posted this entry a little over a month ago. A month ago it appeared as if the chairs were growing out of the flowers. That's when I belabored my lack of diligence from the spring for pulling out starter seedlings as they sprouted in my tropical pathway.

Here we are just a few weeks later, with some good rainfall on the record books, and the passageway is barely useable. Barely.
I'm sure I've mentioned this tiny little fact already but this area is one of my favorite places in the back yard gardens.

It is the coolness of the shade and the quiet sense of surrounding nature that brings peace and calm as I traverse these paths daily.

It is also the main route to the compost piles and the way-back parts of the garden. So when I initially created it I was sure to leave it WIDE enough for my wheelbarrow.
That's not to say I can't still scoot past the burgeoning impatiens on foot. And when pushing the wheelbarrow there ARE alternate routes to the compost piles. But taking the long way around is the not-so-convenient element about where the impatiens have decided to thrive.

Now that I've taken you the length of the tropical pathway (click here to see how to create) let's turn around and go back out together.

On the way back we should pause together to pay attention to a new Caladium planted this summer. 'Cinderella' is a delicate-looking, almost translucent leaf that is happy in the shade. She's going on my "must-purchase-more-of-these list" for next year. I love everything about her.

Above and behind her there's 'Moonlight' glowing so brightly in the daylight that draws my attention as well. It is good for the soul to pause. In the midst of sweaty tasks of summer pausing to admire inspires me onward.

The return trip back towards the circle garden better portrays how the footpath narrows to nearly impassable due to the growth of those volunteer impatiens.

My question for you ... The impatiens are easily plucked as their root system is shallow. What would you do?
Should they stay or should they go?


  1. They should stay.

    Cinderella is beautiful. Haven't seen it before. As always, I experience "garden envy" when viewing your photos. This is a great time of year! Everything is growing like crazy.

  2. I guess I would probably do alittle thinning out so the path was still accessible. But it does look very lush & pretty. :)

  3. Once again I'm in awe and inspired by your wonderful gardens. What a lovely place to be out in everyday. I love impatiens but don't have any at this time. They are such happy flowers. Wait I do have a white one, in a hanging pot.

    That 'Cinderella' caladium is wonderful. My sweet little Miss Muffetts' are doing just great.

    We had a nice lot of rain when a thunderstorm blew over early last evening.

    Happy Summer Gardening,

  4. Love the Cinderella. Your garden is so inspiring. I think you make it pretty obvious that the hard work in gardening is on the front end getting the grass out and Planting the Right back ground anchor Plants in the right Place. Then you play with color and texture and the flowers that please your senses the most. Thanks for showing us they way.

  5. Ditto on Rick's comment about the "Cinderella". I love all things Caladium. Personally, I love it when plants overtake the environment. It's hard for me to clear paths when the plant makes everything so lush. That area is gorgeous.

  6. I say leave them. I transplanted a bunch this morning into the back garden where we are starting from scratch. Years of neglect had let it grow up with all the bad stuff-boston fern etc. So we just have cleaned it out and have found so many interesting things--a huge Japanese holly fern and what I believe is a draceana that had struggled to reach for the sun through a bamboo thicket. I'm loving every bit of the hard work.

  7. Nothing wrong with impatiens everywhere! Love them.

    One of these days, I'm just going to get up from looking at your photos, hop in the car and drive all the way to Florida to tour your garden! LOL

  8. I cannot think of a more wonderful dilemma to have;-) I would keep them, but just trim where they're in the way. I would probably just push the wheelbarrow right where I needed to and whatever was truly in the way would get taken care of that way. I love impatiens...and have several in pots. How nice they come back for you and re-seed.

  9. Siesta Sister,
    I'm loving Cinderella. Her paleness is just enough to blend in with her neighbors yet makes her really stand out ... like at the ball. :-)

    I use shears to whack back the impatiens in my narrower perennial pathway all summer. I guess I might have to clear the way a bit here, too.

    My garden is my haven... just like your little plum cottage is yours. Keeping an impatien watered in a hanging pot would be a lot of work around here as they are water guzzlers. Glad to hear your Miss Muffets are doing well.

    That is EXACTLY my gardening philosophy. You said that so succinctly I might steal it. Thanks for noticing and for all your great support and for all you do for Florida gardening!

  10. Rohrerbot,
    I agree with "hard to clear paths" when it looks so natural which is exactly what I'm trying to acheive. I've been taking the long way around to the compost pile which just means more exercise right!

    What a time of year to be clearing. But even in the heat it is always fun to find the surprises that insist on out-living the overgrowth. Good for you.

    Too funny. I NEVER recommend 'purchasing' impatiens to my clients as they are typically water hogs. But because these are naturalized as well as shaded they have adapted and don't require extra irrigation. If they did I'd have yanked them a long time ago.

    Thank you... it is a good dilemma. I do practice your method of pushing the wheelbarrow where I need to go on other pathways and if volunteers survive it then so be it. Impatiens would likely be smooshed and crushed so I'm still taking the long around to the compost pile. Burning more calories right!

  11. I might be the odd one here but I think you should pull them. As beautiful as they are, a clear pathway is part of the invitation to stroll. If there is no discernible route to navigate, it can look and be chaotic and confusing. I like my confusion to be in the beds, not in the pathway. But this is just me and my opinion. I think you should do what you think is best for you.

  12. They would stay, as Siesta Sister said! I think if not for them your garden will not be as lively as they are not. However, after a while they will be lanky and slender, in our case i half cut the stems and in a little while, they are back again. One positive contribution is they make your surroundings beautiful without you putting too much labor to them. I love also your big-leafed caladiums and the Alocasia.

  13. Grace,
    I realized this week that by next month they will be leggy enough that I won't mind pulling them. If they were completely blocking the passageway I would probably clip some back to avoid the chaotic feeling you speak of... and I agree.

    It is true they will soon be lanky but for now they are cheery and bright. I'm in love with the caladiums in that area. Thank you.

  14. I only wish my impatiens would become a dilemma. I vote for leaving them. They look so nice with the caladiums, especially 'cinderella.' My caladium ordering list is growing.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway