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On Gardening: Panola Panache, pansies with flamboyance

November 7, 2016

               

A container of pansies like this Panola Beaconsfield will brighten up the cool season porch patio or deck.

Today we have a shipment of Panolas coming to the garden; this series of pansies has long been a favorite of mine for its persevering landscape performance. Iím sure there has been a generation of gardeners born who probably have never heard the name Panola.

When I first saw them there were just a few colors and the name was Panola Panache. This might best be translated as Pansies with Flamboyance. While that is certainly a great visual description, think about the name Panola. Have you ever wondered what you might get if you crossed a viola and a pansy? Well, a small company by the name of Waller Genetics did and created an award winning flower forevermore known as the Panola. History shows Waller Genetics was sold and today the Panola has been developed, improved and expanded into many more colors and mixes by Pan American Seed, a Ball Horticultural Company.

When I touted rugged perseverance in the landscape Iím not just talking about winter. I remember when it was chosen as a Mississippi Medallion Award Winner over a decade ago one of the supposed warnings within the committee was you better watch out because it has great heat tolerance and would look good longer into the spring causing some gardeners to delay planting summer annuals.

You can understand how that warning brought a smile to many faces as this was really a testimony that the plant chosen as an award winner would simply build on our reputation of selecting award winners. An even bigger smile occurred, a couple of years later as it swept Ohio State Trials pansy competition.

As I was selecting Panolas for this yearís cool season color at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens I was lured by those with clear faces. Since I was a kid I have always treasured those pansies with blotches. The Panola offers you the gardener a great choice in clear, blotch as well as some designer or artistic mixes.

Indeed the Panola seems to have gotten the best features of its parents. The flowers are not as large as many pansies but are larger than a viola. Plants will grow 6 to 8 inches tall and are prolific bloomers that may have a dozen flowers open at one time. For this reason, they deserve a place in the landscape and in containers on the patio or deck. The sheer number of flowers produced makes them every bit as showy, even from a distance, as the large-flowered pansy.

Choose a site in full sun for the best performance and showiest displays. Some part sun is certainly tolerated. Before planting Panolas, prepare the bed by tilling in 3 to 4 inches of organic matter to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. While tilling, incorporate two pounds per 100 square feet of a slow-release, balanced fertilizer.

Organic matter helps loosen tight clay soils for better water penetration, aeration, and good root development. Organic matter is important on the coast and in other locales that have sandy soil. Sand is made up of the largest particles, allowing for quick drainage and leaching of nutrients. Organic matter improves the water-holding capacity and helps retain vital nutrients.

Panolas are also heavy feeders. Feed monthly with a light application of slow-released fertilizer. Feed those grown in containers every other week with a dilute water-soluble fertilizer. Periodic deadheading will keep the flowers coming.

Panolas combine wonderfully with cool season flowers like ornamental kale, cabbage, mustard, dianthus, and snapdragons. As you plant your bed, of try inter-planting spring daffodils. The blooming bulbs and these pansies will be like a crescendo in the spring garden. Pansy planting season is a wonderful time of the year, when it occurs in your area give the persevering Panola a try, youíll be glad you did.

 

 




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