If Pansies Pooped Out in the Cold
Pansies normally pull through Texas winters with flying colors, but this year seemed unusually daunting. If you’d like a little color to carry you into your spring/summer plantings, here are five great choices.
• Ornamental Swiss chard. The variety ‘Rhubarb’ has been popular for many years. It has deep green leaf blades, but the petioles (“stems” of the leaves) are stunningly bright red. And a newer color mix called ‘Bright Lights’ is equally showy. Buy these as potted transplants, and enjoy them into the spring.
• Stocks. These look a little like grayish, fuzzy-leafed snapdragons. They bloom in shades of rose, pink, white and purple. Flowers are either single or double, and many varieties are very fragrant.
• Sweet alyssum. This one gets used to edge spring flowerbeds, and it’s also the “spiller” plant for containers, used to tumble over the tops of the pots and down the sides. Colors include rose, pink, purple and white. Old varieties like Carpet of Snow, Rosie O’Day and Easter Bonnet are still popular. Snow Crystals and Snow Princess have larger flowers and vigorous, more heat-tolerant plants.
• Larkspur. You gotta love this plant. Assuming you mooch seeds from a neighbor, it reseeds freely and blooms year after year. Its foliage is fern-like and soft-textured, and the flowers are dark blue, pink or white. It grows to be 15 to 18 inches tall, and it brings a gentle look to its surroundings.
• Petunias. Most people don’t think about planting petunias until the middle of spring, but they’re able to withstand light frosts and still thrive. If you’re collecting larkspur seeds from your Grandma’s garden, you might find some reseeding petunias there, too. Otherwise, find a flat of pretty hybrids at the nursery. They’ll cheer up your spring. By the time they’re done, you’ll be looking for hot-weather plants to replace them.