Garden Columnist Anne Raver speaks up on Impatiens “Blight”

Impatiens-walleranaDo you read the New York Times? If you do, you have likely read the excellent writing of Anne Raver. Anne’s most recent column, “In the Garden”, describes at length the downy mildew that has killed Impatiens and which means you probably will not see it in garden centers this year. (Remember last year (?) when tomatoes were full of greenhouse disease?). Anyway, Anne’s opinion about Impatiens (“Impatiens is an overused plant I love to hate, so I am shedding crocodile tears…Maybe nature is doing us a favor by forcing those addicted to the plant to find an alternative.”) reminded me of the famous Chicago “Prairie School” landscape architect Alfred Caldwell. He was in his last years when he gave a keynote speech at the annual luncheon of Friends of the Parks. He showed some slides of his work, including one of a park he designed in Detroit. It was a recent slide, with red Impatiens figuring prominently in the shrub border. Mr. Caldwell looked hard at the slide, raised his cane and shook it angrily in the air, and cried, “Impatiens? RUBBISH!”. ##

Posted on by weedpatchgazette in Landscape Architecture, Plants, Uncategorized

3 Responses to Garden Columnist Anne Raver speaks up on Impatiens “Blight”

  1. Arthur Miller

    As a recovering user of impatiens in pots in sunny high-profile locations, I lament the loss of this neglect-forgiving, reliable survivor. Can you recommend alternative drought-and-cool-weather-resistent choices–not petunias, not several others? These can’t be perennials, since the pots don’t winter over. Geramiums do winter over and do pretty well in dourght too. But what else?

  2. Pauline Mohr

    Art, I have the same questions as you. I hope there will be feedback with suggestions for substitutes.

    • weedpatchgazette

      Hi, Art and Pauline. I have seen plenty of regular impatiens for sale in garden centers, so I don’t know “what gives”. And the substitutes (New Guinea impatiens, begonias) are just not the same. Let me noodle around a bit with talking to Chgo Botanic Garden etc and see what I find out…In the meantime, if you find out whether the seed used by local greenhouses is somehow “immune”, please post the news.

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