After prying myself away from HGTV and the novelty of being able to leave the French Doors to the deck open I made a trip to Lowe's to look at ceramic tile to re-do my kitchen counters with and was lured into the garden department by visions of colorful perennials in hanging baskets.
The sudden arrival of warmer weather must have caught the Lowe's buyers by surprise since the stock is still mainly delicate annuals like pansies, petunias and violas. So much for new hanging baskets. I saw the mark-down cart and went to have a look; one of my best plants ever was a nearly dead tea rose that appreciated my attention so much that it became a 4'wide by 6' tall bloomer that faithfully provided perfect pink blossoms and true rose scent every year from spring til late fall. I miss that rose.
Anyway, not much to choose from in the markdowns but I did pick up two pots of pansies for $3 to sit on a double plant stand by the driveway. If I were fat with money and time, my yard would be a pansy heaven (like the other picture!) every year from October til the heat ate them up.
The year Charlie and I got married, autumn began arriving in September and temperatures were dropping before I had expected. We were having an outdoor wedding in our own backyard and a cold October afternoon was not what was required for my dream wedding! I soldiered on with preparations, getting the landscape ready for company.
I was in the habit of only growing plants that I had figured out neither my hands nor yard soil could kill, so I had a pretty hardy group that were still blooming or looking bright and healthy. My purple queen (called wandering jew by many of you) sat in pots around the swimming pool in company with hisbiscus trees and moss rose (portulaca) showing their red, pink and orange flowers.Since I had chosen my favorite colors, blue and yellow, for the wedding, I needed something to punch up the yard to match my theme.
I've always loved pansies. The contrast between the boldness of color and delicacy of the petals appealed to me but the short period of their viability in an unpredicatble Northwest Florida spring/summer discouraged me from ever buying them. But now I needed the reliable profusion of blooms that could stand the current temperatures from 40-80 degrees and bring me all of the shades of yellow I needed along with the violet that was as close to blue as I was going to get.
I bought my pansies and placed them strategically for the wedding and gave them permission to die after the honeymoon.
They didn't. They bloomed until Christmas, and although they are supposed to be annuals, either they self-seeded in their pots or just decided to break the rules and I had pansies every year until we left that house.
Every time I saw their little faces opening in bloom I was, for a second, in my wedding dress again and walking determinedly across the grass to marry the right man at last.