Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bent but not broken...

Have you ever watched a movie where so many rotten things happened to the main character that you were either laughing or cringing? That pretty much describes the week I've had....  I just haven't gotten to the laughing part yet. It will come. It always does.

I spent almost the entire weekend in the garden. I finished my transplanting, took down two small trees, redug all the trenches between the grass and the gardens, and started lightly mulching all the new plantings. I'm sore but exhilarated. Hard work always clears my head.

Do you grow impatiens in your garden? I usually grow them in pots but last summer I stuck a few in the ground in between the columbine. They were beautiful and carefree, and even though they didn't attract any wildlife, they did attract me, and that was enough.

This past winter DC and northern VA were walloped with two massive blizzards. In a normal winter we may get a few inches of snow but anything more is unusual. So when Snowmageddon aka Snowpocalypse hit, delivering almost 7 feet of snow in less than a month, I figured my impatiens were goners.


This is the view from my front porch. The stick in the distance is my mailbox. Most of the snow melted between storms. 








Each storm brought about 3 ft of snow plus another foot or so inbetween the storms, just to keep things interesting. When I lived in upstate NY near the Canadian border, heavy snowfall was a regular part of winter and the snowplows cruised the roads daily. When I lived in North and South Dakota, snow and subzero temps were typical. During Snowpocalypse, the entire area shut down completely, including  many government offices.

So imagine my surprise this summer when a patch of impatiens popped up in the garden, not too far from the original cluster. I hadn't expected the seeds to survive such a snowy winter and was thrilled and comforted to see their pink faces brightening the shade. I spent the weekend thinking about the impatiens and other plants that sprouted with such vigor this past spring. They could have floundered and died, but didn't. They survived and so will I. :0)

20 comments:

  1. Wow, and I thought we were snowed under when we got 1 1/2 feet of snow in Texas last February. You win in the snow department! And you can have it, thank you very much :-) Those delicate impatiens are amazingly tough apparently. What a sweet sight after all that snow, I'm sure!! I'm jealous of all your hard work in the garden. Take it easy or you'll end up like me with a gimp arm! I so miss the hard work and sense of accomplishment it brings!!! Do some diggin' in the dirt for me, will ya?!!

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  2. Will do, Toni! I told my students that the last time we had this much snow, it was the ice age!!! I definitely have a new respect for my little cheapo six packs of impatiens. :0)

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  3. We had such hard freezes last winter here in Austin (16 degrees for a few days in a row). I know, don't laugh, it's really cold for us! Anyway, I thought for sure all my ginger wouldn't make it and possibly a few others. Not only did everything come back but it came back with vigor! It was such a nice surprise. I can imagine yours when your impatiens bloomed ;-)

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  4. Snow, we are so use to it here in the Falls, and I am always surprised to see the volunteers that show up after bad winters. The snow is so insulating if it can last until the spring. It is those warm ups in January the wreck havoc in the garden. Good lesson in survival of those little impatiens.

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  5. 3 ft of snow?!!! I cannot imagine how anyone/creature can continue to function. Being from a tropical country, I guess I would take a long while to adapt. Beautiful impatiens!

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  6. I am sorry to hear that you had a rotten week last week. Hopefully, the week ahead will be better. I have never had inpatients self-seed, but maybe that is because the season is shorter here. What a nice surprise to discover them carrying on even after a harsh winter. Love the pink rose at the top by the way!

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  7. Whim - When I lived in CA, TX, SC, and AR everyone paniced when it dropped below 32. Then I moved north and 32 was considered warm! :0)

    One - I love the change of seasons here. I think I would have a hard time living in constant heat! I think I'd melt! :0)

    Three - Thanks!! That pink rose is one stalwart dame! It's incredibly disease resistant, which is vital with our humidity. :0)

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  8. I didn't know that impatients can selfseed! We have mild winters here, so I can try to plant them next year in the garden. Thanks for the idea! It's interesting what you wrote about the snow. I remember the first light snow storm after we moved to the Pacific Northwest from the Midwest: I drove my boys to school and when we arrived,school was closed and we were the only ones there! And, I didn't have any troubles getting to school. I hope we will have some snow this winter. Last year, we had no snow, and kids were disappointed. Thank you for your pictures and writing!

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  9. seeds are wonderful :)Back home in CA, impatiens would reseed themselves all year long with new plants growing wild and blooming all the time---they were great!

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  10. Tatyana - I graduated from the University of North Dakota whle my husband was stationed at Grand Forks AFB. Absolutely NOTHING stops the daily grind of life in North Dakota. Here we close schools for less than an inch of snow. As a teacher, I get to go back to sleep! Yippee!! Thanks for stopping by and have fun with a pack of impatiens! :0)

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  11. Nicki _ Wild, free range impatiens sound awesome!!

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  12. Wonderful! I love impatiens but had no idea they could survive so much. Hope things are going better for you this week.

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  13. Wishing you a mild, gentle, relaxing winter-to-come.
    Surely the impatiens are a positive sign;-)
    Alice
    ((aka Alice's Garden Travel Buzz... in my wading boots now that rainy season has arrived!)

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  14. I would love to see that much snow. Althought I think my love would diminish if i had to deal with that every winter. In here we only get a couple cm of snow if we are lucky.
    Very lovely impatients (I know them as Teresitas)

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  15. Wow, and I am still talking about the little dusting of snow we got! I am always amazed at the resilience of nature, and our own resilience, too. I hope your week has improved!

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  16. Yep, seeds are tough little guys. When I brought plants from my old house almost 8 years ago to this house, some of the pots obviously contained some perilla seeds. A few crop up every spring - even though I pull them up when I see them. And my impatiens in front of the house reseed every year too (and we can have 20" of snow sitting on them for weeks/months). LOL On the other hand, for the past 2 years I've shelled out for some pricey hyacinth bean seeds and none of them have ever germinated. Seeds - go figure. :-D

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  17. Love your snow blizzard names, very cute! Talk about unusual weather... During October we had a ton of rain here in So Cal - I'm guessing about ten days. The vegetation is in bloom again, everyone at work is suffering from allergies, and in our little canyon, each segment of rain has been followed by an infestation of bugs we've never had problems with before. Moths and gnats. The latter of the two being the worst and currently ongoing. I found two gnats doing the backstroke and yuckin' it up in my glass of wine the other night. Mother Nature - she's so unpredictable.

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  18. KJ - At least your gnats have excellent taste in beverages! 10 days of rain in So Cal? Insane!! In all my memories of living in So Cal as a kid, none of them include rain!

    Kris - I had to look perilla up. Pretty plant - looks just like coleus. Maybe they need to give the bean seeds a pep talk. :0)

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  19. Deb - I had a fabulous week!! Your kind words were encouraging!

    Tendrils - I'm a CA native and was in the bay area several years ago. I wish I could teleport myself back! I'm hoping for a relaxing winter, too!

    delcasmx - I think I like the name teresita better than impatiens. It's much prettier!

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  20. Hope you had a better week. Those are hardy impatiens. I have always liked them, but never had enough shade. Hard work in the garden always makes me feel better...tired but better. Also, I love the David Austin rose!!!!

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