Life has certainly been busy at the greenhouse as of late, the orders have been large and the spring annuals plentiful. As quickly as I can pull them onto racks, they’re being planted behind me, what a time of year to be working in the plant industry. Still in times of busy I can’t stop but to pause and appreciate it all, as I stand there in a field of brightly glowing flowers I’m quickly reminded why I stay.
This brings me to the topic of this post, garden impatiens, more specifically Impatiens walleriana hybrids. Out of all the spring bedding crops I work with, garden impatiens can be some of the best, and the worst crop to work with. Over the past 50 years impatiens have hit North America by storm, and is one of the top grossing bedding plants to be commercially grown. Garden impatiens come in a wide array of colors, are relatively easy to care for and survive in the most unlikely shady positions. While most spring bedding requires as much light as possible garden impatiens thrive in shady positions and are a great way to brighten up a dark corner of the garden. Impatiens walleriana benefit from being well watered but hate to have wet feet. Plant in well drained soil for best results. Dead heading is as simple as running your fingers through the foliage, the spent flowers are delicate and come off easily.
The common garden impatiens of today can all be attributed to a man named Claude Hope otherwise referred to as the Father of the impatiens. Who would have thought such a prolifically flowering garden plant would be derived from a small weed found in the ditches of Costa Rica. After many years of selective hybridizing Claude Hope developed the famous garden plant we know today. It’s interesting to think that one man could influence the gardens of millions, it’s inspiring to say the least.