About Patrick

My gardening experiences range from the Australian outback to the prairies of Kansas. I grew up in subtropical Sydney with grandparents who lived on the edge of the Outback in Narrabri, NSW. In 1978 at age 13 my family moved to Lenexa, a suburb of Kansas City.

I was terribly distressed on how I could learn to garden with a climate of such extremes. Up until moving here, I hadn’t even seen snow before. But my solace was to be found with the host of a new PBS show named Crockett’s Victory Garden which was a precursor of today’s Victory Garden. Between Jim Crockett’s books and appearances on the show, I did learn how to grow flowers and veggies and his lessons became my springboard to learn so much more.

I’m a proud graduate of Kansas State University with a degree in Agricultural Economics & Marketing. I spent 15 years in the advertising business with both agricultural and horticultural clients. My horticulture clients included PanAmerican Seed (Breeders of Super Elfin Impatiens and Vinca Coolers) and Ball Seed (Madness Petunias). My agricultural clients included Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and John Deere Credit.

While working as a GE Global Marketing Communications Leader in 2001, a rare type of tumor in my spinal chord ruptured rendering me a quadriplegic. But praise God I have a functioning right hand! However, much to my despair, I could no longer have a professional career and retired at only 37.

Today, fate would have me living at Trinity Nursing & Rehab in Merriam, KS. But it’s a great place with a staff that now includes some of my best friends. While I lost my own beloved garden, today I have my own grounds here at Trinity. We have two large patio areas and 14, yes 14 windowboxes. The boxes are kept in primo shape by the Todd  The Bus Driver who praise God (Again!) is a gardener.  I’ve replaced two old tired daylily beds with all new donated hybrids and planning to plant trees on the property. In 2014, I’ll supervise the installation of new landscaping as part of a $3MM million renovation at Trinity.

I’m an former Johnson County Extension Master Gardener with Kansas State University. I have written a monthly column on outstanding plants in the Kansas City Gardener for seven years now. And I make a concerted effort to make this blog fresh, entertaining, informative and relevant. My gardening efforts are enabled by a close group of friends and family.While there are a lot of gardening things I can’t do, there is the upside of avoiding weeding and watering! Life has been pretty complicated of late but I can’t wait to see what blooms for me tomorrow. Why don’t you join me here on this journey at patricksgarden.com?

For more of my past journey see:

Perils of a Quadriplegic Gardener (Part One)

Perils of a Quadriplegic Gardener (Part Two)


Patrick's Garden

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Janeen September 2, 2011 at 11:49 am

Hi Patrick,
I was introduced to your site because I saw your comment on awaytogarden. I live in Iowa, so am pleased to find a good site which addresses the problems of Midwest gardens.

I hope I wasn’t overstepping, but since you shared your personal story on Margaret’s site I left a book idea for you on her website!

I’m glad you’re a Master Gardener and that you’ve found a forum and a way to share your many years of accumulated expertise.


Patrick September 2, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I’m thrilled you found my site and that you live so close in Iowa. Thanks for your kind words but i can’t find the book idea quote. Where exactly did you leave it?


Janet, The Queen of Seaford September 14, 2011 at 7:34 am

Thanks so much for coming by my blog and commenting. Wish I had known earlier I could have said hi, we were in Manhattan visiting family. I look forward to reading your postings. Wonderful that you continue to be involved in the gardening world. Will give my sister a head’s up for your gardening column. Funny, we were talking about blue spirea when we were there….I kept telling her it was a Caryopteris.


Patrick September 21, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Janet, my Queen,
I do look forward to a visit some day. That would make me very happy.


Bren September 14, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Dear Patrick..thanks for your kind comment on my blog. The Tomato Fest was fantastic, and Owen is a great young man, and a fine grower and seedsman.

I’ve been wining about my wrists and shoulders for the past year..things are looking up now, but heh..you put a lot of life into perspective on your blog and I so appreciated reading ‘about you’ and resilience. Thank you. It was just precious to me.

14 window boxes kept in top shape by the bus driver…that person deserves a medal!!


Patrick September 21, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Thanks for your kind words. They’re very inspiring to me..


Shady Gardener September 14, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Hi Patrick, It looks like you’re finding Iowa gardeners all over! ;-) You obviously have wonderful friends and supportive people that can use YOUR knowledge and help to make the living environment beautiful for everyone in your area! Blessings!


Patrick September 14, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Hey Shady,
Thanks for your kind words. I do have some special people in my life and they help make my life rich. Blessings back at you.


Shady Gardener September 14, 2011 at 8:34 pm

PS Thank you for your interest in blogging, as I will obviously (as in the boxwood) be learning from you, too! :-)


Patrick September 14, 2011 at 10:21 pm

I think I can help some and be rewarded with so much more info to make me a better gardener and person.


Cathy and Steve September 21, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Patrick, I’m hoping to be able to help you with your garden in some small way. I’ll put my thinking cap on. You’re amazing!


Patrick September 21, 2011 at 10:33 pm

I’m very touched,


Adele September 22, 2011 at 5:53 am

Hi Patrick,
thanks for visiting my blog and I hope you have some success hitting up donations, some vendors are better at donating than others.


Go Aggies!


Patrick September 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Hey Adele,
The people I’m asking for donations are people I’ve featured in the my columnsw in the Kansas City Star so it’s not like I’m cold calling them. So wish me luck..


Kevin September 23, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Patrick, thank you for visiting my blog. I’m glad you found me, because it means that I found your blog. It’s really an amazing blog, with lots of information and inspiration. I wanted to let you know that I’ve added it to the list of Garden Blogs on my blogroll. Be well.


Patrick September 23, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Hey Kevin,
I’m glad you found my blog and liked it so much. And thanks for putting me on your blogroll. I notice its a short list so it means a lot. Thank you.


Kevin September 23, 2011 at 8:17 pm

By the way, are you familiar with Blotanical? It’s a search engine for garden blogs — and it’s quite extensive. There’s a large community of international garden bloggers. You may want to explore it so you can reach a larger audience. There is a link on my blog.


Patrick October 26, 2011 at 4:02 am

Yes Kevin, I have already signed up but haven’t noticed any traffic from it.


patty September 30, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Hello Patrick, I see you have visited my blog recently – many thanks. You have some interesting posts with some great recommendations. I will be back to visit again.


Patrick September 30, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Thanks for the compliments. Welcome back anytime.


Rebecca October 27, 2011 at 5:14 pm

My gardening efforts and knowledge pale in comparison to most. I’ve come to appreciate perennials late, but am enjoying my own beds and gardens of others –in person and via blogs. I was born in Hutchinson – have a daughter & her family living in McPherson. We currently live in Indiana. I’ll be visiting you here often!


Patrick October 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Hey Rebecca.
Welcome. So good you’ll be a regular. Hope I live up to your expectations.Maybe you’ll have a reason to visit KC?


Cathy and Steve June 21, 2012 at 7:17 am


We are closet tree huggers ourselves. We had a b lank canvas and planted quite the garden, (32 beds and counting — no grass to mow LOL) – and we planted a flowering shrub and tree grove that hosts a woodland garden under it’s canopy. The only shrubs that don’t flower are the Japanese variegated willows (the tips turn pink so we let it in) which are now over 15 feet tall and stunning. How are you managing, getting tree donations? Is the bed ready for planting?

We got some flowering shrubs and trees from Brighter Blooms (an on-line fast growing tree nursery). They have excellent sales from time to time – especially when their trees get tall. Once they approach 7 feet they discount them a lot as Fedex will not accept them from shipment above 7 feet. A good place to keep bookmarked. Get on their email list and they will let you know when they are having clearance sales.

We’d be willing to pot up and send some seedlings from our bed… let me know!

Best, Cathy


Kate August 4, 2012 at 10:43 am

Hi Patrick,
Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’ll go ahead and follow yours if that’s okay. I’m a fellow Hort major (Cal Poly, SLO), but as you well know, life sometimes has other plans for us. I work as a small town librarian and garden in my spare time.


Anny-O August 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Paddy-Dog . . . can you grow me some of those huge Kansas sunflowers and ship them to me here in Indiana!! I miss sunflowers and you!! :)


Cathy "Cheetos Hater" September 14, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Hi Patrick,

Was just thinking of you – I think I saw someone eating Cheetos lately and, again, it reminded me of those finger prints on my papers! I have to say that we planted Hibiscus last year and loved them. We brought them in during the winter and the did well. When we put them in pots and put them back on the patio this summer I think either the rabbits or squirrels enjoyed them more than me. They are still green, but with no flowers. I’m hoping they bloom again inside this winter. One question – Can I prune them before taking them inside in a couple weeks? Don’t want to kill them! Lastly, the white hibiscus on your main page are BEAUTIFUL! I love them!

Hope you are well…take good care and talk to you again soon.

Cathy Walters


Patrick September 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Hey Cathy,
Prune, prune, prune. They will treat you well with sporadic blooms all winter.
Thanks for stopping by


Deb Courtner December 15, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Wow, Patrick! You’re really an inspiration! Have you ever considered teaching classes on gardening to physically challenged people?
I, too, graduated from Kansas State University. But my degree was in journalism. After discovering a love of plants and going through Colorado State University’s master gardener program, I went to school part-time for 8 years to earn a landscape design certification.
Welcome to Blotanical.com!


Patrick December 15, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Hey Deb,
I’m so excited you found me. It’s such a small world, isn’t it. What years were you at KSU? I was 83-88 but been paralyzed for ten years ago this past March. Look forward to a long word press relation ship. Over to your blog, right now.


Judy @GrandparentsPlus2 May 8, 2013 at 10:21 am

Thank you for comments on a recent gardening post. I stopped by to check your blog out and feel a real kinship with you since I’m a MG, lived a long time in KS and have many family graduates of KSU. Go Wildcats!


Patrick May 14, 2013 at 10:09 am

Yes, we do have a lot in common. I do bleed purple as well.


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