July 22, 2014

Dreaming of Violas, Snapdragons and Iceland Poppies

When the weather is hot and sunny, I like to think about the winter garden, just as we dream of warm gardens in the dead of winter.

Early Spring in my garden, 2007

When I first came to Southwest Georgia, I passed a veterinarian's office in Cairo. There was a glorious planting near the street of white Snapdragons, blue Pansies and Iceland Poppies in shades of orange, yellow and cream. One of the Plant Ladies had worked her magic there.

I never quite achieved the glorious garden I saw there but I've had some stunning pansies, some sweet Iceland poppies and spiky snapdragons; they just never turned out in the same bed.

Plant Ladies were among my role models for planting in a hot and humid climate. When I used to spend time over there, I had opportunity to see Astilbes die under the shade of Crape myrtles in front of the hospital entrance and judge just how long a Delphinium lasts before it is toast.  A Plant Lady introduced me to Pentas. It was mid-winter and the tops were dead but I could tell it was something I had to plant. 

Small-flowered Pansies and Violas are more impressive than the Giant Pansies. A great host of small blossoms are more impressive than 2 or 3 big blooms.

All photos are from previous years here.

 Violas have a constant stream of flowers. If one is damaged by the weather another soon opens. They're more resistant to cold because of their alpine species heritage.

Dark colors can make an impact when wisely chosen and carefully sited.

I gave up the darkest Violas because I thought they looked like black holes from a distance.

Of all the pansies I've planted, I liked these best.
I wonder if their name is written somewhere?

Next month is time to start Violas, Snaps and Iceland Poppies from seed in moderate climates.  My plans do not apply to areas that get snow and continuous hard freezes. If I don't get seed planted I may wait until January to buy flats of plants during a warm spell. If I happen across any Snapdragons this fall, cuttings of Antirrhinum are easy. 

Meanwhile, I cut back Verbena bonairensis that flopped all over the front lawn and saved a bowl of seeds. Before I was done, a butterfly was nectaring on the short stems with blooms that I left. Tithonia and Lantana are plentiful now , so I felt comfortable with cutting away some Verbena on a Stick.

Verbena on a Stick back in May.

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