season of pansies is about over, but what a glorious one
it turned out to be. This is thanks to a mild winter
with good stretches of springtime temperatures that have
delighted both people and plants.
we can say both thanks and good-bye to pansies and their
smaller cousins, the violas, and prepare to replace them
with something great for the hot months ahead.
most people use pansies as edging for beds or in pots,
window boxes and hanging baskets, this is not a huge,
expensive job. But it is one you should get going on so
that the plants get settled down and growing before the
real heat clamps down on us in a few weeks.
choices are amazingly varied, particularly among color,
size and texture. There are also choices to be made
governing the form of the plant, whether it is tallish
and upright, wide and spreading or trailing. All three
are useful, particularly for container gardens.
spring offers a huge range of possibilities that allow
gardeners to enjoy more variety and even experiment a
bit. For example, a 12-inch pot that held eight or nine
pansies can take on a completely different look with a
mix of several different kinds of annual flowers. I find
these combinations, such as petunias, trailing verbena,
celosia or torenia, rich in color and texture and a
delight to select and plant.
you choose, however, it is essential to know the
environment. Spots, such as a flower bed or porch steps
that get full sun through the winter and into April may
turn quite shady once the trees are in full leaf.
Without trees, this sunny spot may turn very hot for
plants at midsummer.
spots call for plants such as impatiens, begonias and
torenia. Impatiens can grow quite large and should go
solo in smaller baskets and containers. They can easily
make a good edging for a flower bed and you would need
fewer plants than you did with pansies because impatiens
are another top choice for shady containers and edges
because they bloom almost constantly, grow rather fast
and cause no problems. For the shadiest spots, choose
begonias with green foliage, for brighter, sunnier
spots, the bronze-leaved ones perform better in partly
edge of pansies in a hot, sunny spot can be readily
replaced with scarlet sage, a wonderful summer flower.
The bright red form is one of the best choices and makes
a nice change, especially if the bed was filled with
pastel colors through the winter.
selecting annuals for mixed containers, take care to
choose a variety of forms. This actually expands the
space you have with vertical plants rising above the
others and trailing plants that spill over the sides,
creating a larger effect.
The foliage on my daffodils is yellow now. Can I get rid
of it and plant something else there?
The foliage should come up easily now. You can plant
annuals over them, but great care must be taken to avoid
hurting the resting bulb. Don’t use a shovel to dig
the soil. Just use a trowel and very gently to set out
small plants that won’t require deep digging. Even if
the bulbs were set 7 or 8 inches deep, the top of the
bulbs would be a few inches higher. A really safe choice
would be a spreading annual such as lantana or verbena.
They could add the color you want, and you would set the
new plants just outside the area where the bulbs grow.