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Spring-like

Last week’s snow came as a bit of surprise. Yes, it appeared in the forecast a few days before arriving but I do not recall much mention of snowfall prior to that. The cold temperatures seemed to be refusing to move on so more snows could not be out of the question and yet this snowfall was kind of a slap in the face. It was like, “Well, shoot. I sure didn’t need this”. The nice thing about it was the temperatures did not drop much, just enough to create it and allow it to accumulate, leaving it warm enough that roads cleared quickly which I always appreciate.

And it was a pretty snow. Classic really. Christmas in March snow.

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However my pansies for Nonie’s Garden arrived three days earlier. With the garden looking like this Monday morning it was good I didn’t need to be in a hurry to get them in the ground.

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Now pansies are great for this time of year. They can handle the frosts and freezes and snow just fine. The growers produce them under cool conditions so they are somewhat acclimated to the outside world when they get here. That said, I still like to give them a few days of real world exposure before planting them into the landscape. Here we have a nice stand of Norway spruce (Picea abies) that do a good job of offering some protection from frost while still exposing the plants to some real sun and real temperatures.

I forgot to take a picture of them when they arrived but this is what they looked like four days later.

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Look who’s sleeping under the snow blanket.

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Like I said the snow did start melting quickly.

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No harm done.

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Even the flowers are fine. This was probably open before the snow came.

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Buds are emerging from the blanket of snow.

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This is a cultivar called ‘Citrus Mix’ that contains flowers of orange, primrose, white, and yellow. White does not show up as well in the snow.

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All the snow was gone pretty much Friday morning so I should be able to get them in the ground quickly next week. Only about a week late.

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The tulips are coming along, orange ‘Lightning Sun’ and yellow ‘Formosa’. ‘Formosa’ is a viridiflora tulip meaning it has green running up the middle of the petals. Or is that tepals since there are actually only three petals and the other three are sepals but they all look alike? Oh well, for our purposes petals covers it. And we have a bit of time until we have flowers showing color anyway.

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The pansies will go amongst them and in sweeps between the trees and shrubs.

If pansies are not your thing a few other choices could be snapdragons, Erysimum (wallflowers), linaria. Or as in this planting, perennials like carex, euphorbia, and ajuga.

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The tulips give color for a short period but the foliage of the perennials carries the planting on until weather is warm enough for summer annuals.

Many vegetables also make very ornamental cool season plants – ‘Redbor’ kale, ‘Bull’s Blood’ beet, pretty much any lettuce. Swiss chard is especially nice if you choose the more colorful ones like ‘Rainbow’, ‘Oriole Orange’, Magenta Sunset’, ‘Neon Glow’, and ‘Rhubarb’ to name a few. Chard, kale, and beet foliages will remain beautiful until fall. And you can eat off them all season.

No excuses. Pansy Up and get out there and plant something.

Filed under: Horticulture

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