When I think of October, more than Halloween, pumpkins, and fall colors come to mind. I think of pansies. October is the best month of the year to plant these jewels of the flower world. The summer heat has passed but the days of freezing temps and cold ground are not here yet. Take a trip to any garden center and you will see rows and rows of these plants with their dear faces. You can satisfy a whim for any color, for any size from the 'Colossus' to the 'Johnny Jump-up'. These will be my 39th year to bring home these brightly colored flowers for my landscape. When I get to the nursery I am almost overwhelmed by the choices to the shopper; each year breeders bring another variety or another color combination to the market. New for me this year is 'Plentifall'--these pansises creep instead of growing upright.
All that is required to have beautiful pansies is the following; fertile, well-drained soil, four to six hours of sun, some slow release fertilizer to start, and then applications of a water soluble fertilizer over the winter. You will have beautiful blooms until the days turn very warm. Keep them watered until the winter rains arrive. A light layer of mulch and grooming the spent flowers is all the care they really need. A landscaper once told me that the real secret to beautiful pansies is to double dig your beds. This year I added lots and lots of compost--free from the local landfill. No room for a color bed--never fear. Pansies make great container plants. Place them where you see them out of your kitchen window and you will have a cheery view every day.
A beautiful weekend is forecast. Vist the garden center and take home a few cell-packs. You will be so glad you did.