The Impatient Gardener: July 2009

30 July 2009

Garden Walk

A few weeks ago I went on the local garden walk. A few of the gardens were very nice, but one in particular was a standout. This small garden was packed with lovely little spaces, just what I would want if I had a city garden. It was so charming, just like the roses over the arbor above. Who can resist that?

For a slideshow from that garden, click the image below.

Garden #1 (PW garden walk 2009)

27 July 2009

I love nasturiums (aka Grand Hotel garden tour)

The gardens outside the Grand Hotel dining room. They were filled with zinnias, marigolds, purple fountain grass, dahlias with the most enormous stems I've ever seen (must be the horse manure) and, of course, nasturiums.

I really do. They have such pretty leaves and cheerful flowers. And since they are super easy to grow from seed they are CHEAP. I don't think I planted any of mine early enough this year because I've yet to get a bloom, but seeing some of the gardens at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island reinforced my resolve to use them more often next year.

First of all, the story of how I ended up at the Grand Hotel is one worth telling. Every year I sail to Mackinac Island as part of the Chicago-Mackinac sailboat race. Because of a last minute change of plans my brother and I were left without a hotel room on the island. Certainly we could have "roughed it" and slept on the boat, but we really wanted real beds and a shower. Following the race the entire island is booked solid. We, however, found a room via Expedia, that was not subject to the three-day minimum most hotels require during this time. But three days later Expedia called and said there was a problem and the room was not available. However, they guarantee a comparable or better room at no additional cost. The only room left on the island was one at the Grand Hotel, a place I could never think of affording. And all the additional cost was picked up by Expedia.

As it turned out, this year's race was incredibly long, so when we would normally expect to finish early on Monday, we ended up not finishing until midnight, and I didn't get to the room until 3:30 a.m. I checked out at 9:30 a.m. But I came back later on with my hotel passes and took at peek at the gardens.

So that's how I found myself falling in love all over again with nasturiums.

The gardens, overall, were somewhat underwhelming compared to what I've seen before near the hotel, but I blame that on the total lack of summer weather throughout the upper Midwest. But in one garden in particular, nasturiums were spilling out of the borders. I loved the look. A friend who I showed the pictures to wasn't thrilled, and the gardener who I cornered in the greenhouse later on admitted that they had gotten much bigger than she had intended and she was contemplating ripping them out.

This was on one end of the famous porch and I have to say, I love the gaudy colors. There's a lot of brightness going on there, but I like it planted en masse like that.

There are a lot of pretty shade gardens as well, with hydrangeas galore (and goodness knows I love me some hydrangeas), and the gardener seems to like patterns quite a lot. This patch of sun-appreciating hostas was in series of zig-zag patterns and I sort of liked the look.

So that's the report from the island. Lots more interesting posts coming as I catch up ... including one about the zucchini plant that is taking over the world.

25 July 2009

I'm back

If anyone out there is still following this blog, first of all, I'm very sorry for the lack of posts lately. Second of all, I'm back! I have a lot of posts stored up in my brain so you'll be getting some new stuff to read soon. I have some interesting updates on the status of the vegetable garden (I have some things growing at the same time that shouldn't be!), I was on a local garden walk and I toured the gardens of Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel, so definitely some interesting stuff there. I completely missed Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, which is fine I guess because my garden is really in a transitional period right now. Very little is blooming. The hollyhocks are on the verge, as are some lilies, but otherwise it's just hostas and lady's mantle right now.

Looking forward to putting up some new posts soon.

01 July 2009


This is probably a subject more suitable for the folks over at Garden Rant but it came up in the paper today and I couldn't believe it.

Seems the folks over in Shorewood (a well-to-do suburb of Milwaukee) are fining people for what they are putting in their front yards. No veggies allowed, they say. Now I completely understand the safey issues related to tall plantings in parkways (aka hellstrips ... that little piece of land between the road and the sidewalk), but let's be honest: Unless you live on a corner there is no safety issue.

I'm thankful not to live in a place where one's neighbors turn you in for growing corn, but I really can't imagine a more small-minded attitude. Has anyone personally been through something like this?