9/19/2006

Planting for Fall/Winter Color


When I took a walk around the neighborhood last night, I noticed that pansies and mums are starting to appear in garden beds and containers. Maybe it's a little early for around our area (zone 7), but with motherhood only 3 weeks away (more or less) it probably is a good idea to get ahead of the game this year. (Not to mention that my zinnias are still pouting a bit, so I'm eager to compost them.) So I'll probably be off to the garden center this week.

Pansies and violas in containers are my favorites for winter color. Both are considered "hardy annuals" in zone 7, and they will even recover from an occasional freeze and keep on blooming. The plant in the picture above survived the ice storm of 2004 on my front porch. The frozen flowers faded, but new ones cropped up soon enough.

New tip for pansies to try this year- When deadheading, which is essential for repeated flowering, I hear that pinching back the top couple leaves will help keep a the plant bushy.

Pansies and violas are the staple winter color plants around here, but of course there has to be more! Earlier this year I went to a lecture on winter color in the garden. Since I was raised in a state where the landscape was frozen solid for the winter, the concept of gardening for the winter season fascinates me. The speaker, from Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, was really into the lenten rose, or Hellebores.

Has anyone had luck with these, or recommend another winter bloomer?

5 comments:

OldRoses said...

Hellebore is a dirty word in my garden. Three years! Three years I've been waiting for mine to bloom! The plants are magnificent after all this time but no blossoms. Grrrrrr . . .

Pam said...

I have one lenten rose in my garden here in Charleston, and I've had late winter (more like early spring) blooms - but I wouldn't say that the plant is prospering. You'd probably do better in that part of the state. So what about camellias there? I know there are varieties out there that are more cold-hardy. They are just wonderful here - one starts blooming a bit before Thanksgiving - and they keep going until mid-spring (and make winter bearable). There's also late-fall blooming salvias (my favorite)...if I can think of anything else, I'll let you know.

Annie in Austin said...

Nelumbo, we also grow pansies in winter here in Austin, as well as snapdragons, some kinds of Dianthus and alyssum. It doesn't seem to be the cold weather per se that gets them, but freezing water on their roots. I've had the above plants live and bloom off and on, with some frozen tips, through most of the winter if they're in very well drained containers.

Annie

Stefan said...

Good Job! :)

Melvin said...

really great work ....
i love flowers in my garden...

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Melvin
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