Pansies–Not Just for Spring Anymore

Mammoth Blue-ti-ful Pansy

A Mammoth Blue-ti-ful pansy on Anne’s stoop

Move over, chrysanthemums! There’s a new fall flower in town—pansies—or so my neighbor Jane informed me a few weeks ago. I have always adored pansies with their cheery faces. When I was a child, we had an entire flower bed filled with them in the spring. To a kid whose head was full of storybook tales, it wasn’t hard to imagine the dark part in the middle as a little face, surrounded by a colorful cap. We had hundreds of them in the garden, in dozens of hues—a nursery garden full of friends that I could imagine laughing and smiling with me on a beautiful day.

Mammoth Blue-ti-ful and Matrix Blue/Blotch pansies

This year I missed out on the spring pansy season, because I didn’t start my container garden until June. But now I have a second chance. It seems that cool weather is cool weather to a pansy, no matter what month it falls in, and one equinox is just as good as another. There are even varieties of pansies that are specially bred to overwinter in mild climates or bloom until snowfall in colder ones. “Don’t plant them until the hot weather is over,” Jane advised. So once my husband and I decided that the last scorcher had safely passed, I went back to 14th Street Garden Center and stocked up (and while I was at it, picked up some multicolored ornamental peppers too, because they were just too pretty to pass up).

Every time I come home with a new armload of plants, I’m like a kid with a new pet. I’m just so thrilled and proud. And this latest haul is all the more joyful, because who would have thought that I could have so many colorful posies—in autumn!

Related Posts: Spring for Pansies and Azaleas–The New Fall Flowers?

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One Response to Pansies–Not Just for Spring Anymore

  1. Jane says:

    Like many gardeners I change my window boxes to reflect the seasons. I can’t wait to get the spring flowers in. I have no problem taking out spring ones and putting in the summer choices. But the change from summer to fall usually takes me forever. Fall flowers for me, traditionally mums, meant winter was coming and I’m not a fan of winter weather or empty flower boxes. I usually procrastinate on this one.

    This year though is different. With pansies I can trick myself. I just don’t associate them with winter. They’re one of the harbingers of spring and sun and warmth and it just can’t get cold with all those bright colors. As well, pansies can last longer than mums. Pinching back the dead ones stimulates new blooms. I have them surrounding some grasses (ornamental kales or cabbages are great season extenders too) and I’m hoping to see my window boxes and forget winter all through December.

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