April 4, 2014
Add Color with Cool Season Annuals!
Published by Bucks Country Gardens in Plants
As I look out my kitchen window I see that the daffodils have pushed up through the last little piles of snow (yes, that four letter word!) and they have buds! I have noticed some small patches of purple crocuses and white snowdrops in bloom in the neighborhood also. Spring is finely here and I am ready for color outside. Those gardeners organized enough to have purchased spring blooming bulbs in the fall are now reaping the benefits with early spring color–that is if they got around to actually planting the bulbs that they purchased.
For the rest of us who may not have had such foresight, do not despair! Now is the perfect time to purchase cool weather annuals and plant them. At this time of year, I like to place my annuals strategically where I will definitely see them; such as near the entrances to my home or in an area easily viewed through a window. Then, there is the question of what to plant. Nothing cheers me up more that the happy faces of the pansies and the delicate little violas. They are truly the workhorses of the cool weather annuals and come in such an array of colors to please every palette. Match your shutter color or just pick the color that speaks to you most. They are available in flats for those planting large areas or in individual pots for the gardener working in a small space.
If you are looking for something to combine with your pansies or would love something different, there are other cool weather annuals to choose from. Stock is one of my favorites! It’s tall, fragrant flower spikes combine nicely with lower annuals and can be found in shades of pink, lavender, white and pale yellow. Snapdragons and African daisies (Osteospermum) also add height and come in many vibrant colors. I almost forgot to mention another spring favorite of many of our customers: primrose (though technically a perennial), with its large, bright flowers and textured rosette leaves are guaranteed to chase away those winter blues.
Interested in getting some color outside but not motivated to dig in the garden yet? I often feel this way in the early springs so I simply start by pulling out those brown evergreen branches left in my containers from Christmas and pop in some early spring annuals. A nice combination of stock, ranunculus, pansies and alyssum or ivy works to give me height, a filler and a little something trailing to soften the edges. If you are not familiar with Ranunculus, it is a cool weather bulb with large peony-like flowers available in bright colors–certainly worth checking out! I finish off my container with a few cut stems of pussy willow or the orange-barked curly willow for a little dramatic touch (and some added height for my container). I place the container on my front porch and spring has arrived!
Kathy Evans | Greenhouse Sales