Gardening: Of Pansies and Violets

Cary, NC – Ever go to the garden store and wonder what to plant right now? Right now, it’s pansies and violets.

Flowers in the Winter

Gardening is a warm-weather affair up north. But here in the Carolina Piedmont, we can grow flowers all winter.

Planted now in beds, boxes, borders and pots, pansies and violas will grow on the warmer days of the autumn, survive snow and ice, and explode in size come spring.

Keeping it Simple

Sometimes, the garden store can be overwhelming. But during the fall, you’ll see pansies and violas up front and prominently displayed.

Keeping it simple: buy two-six packs, one each of pansies and violas (cost: about $3.50 ea). Get a bag of potting soil and plant the seedlings in three or four medium sized pots. Place in a sunny spot and water regularly.

Joy will be yours from now until the beginning of next summer.

Size, Color and Care

Pansies and violas come in a fantastic array of colors and color-combination: strong yellows and pale apricots; purples so dark they look black; vivid blues and mixtures of hues that look like faces.

Pansies and violas are smallish plants – three or four will fit nicely in a window box or medium pot. They like to stay moist, not wet. Don’t let them dry out. Use a liquid fertilizer like Miracle Grow every now and then.

Pansies and violas do best in a sunny or partly sunny spot.

Pansies and Violets: What’s in a Name?

Pansies are actually a hybridized version of violas. Pansies are generally bigger, thicker and bushier than their parent stock. But, technically, they’re all violas.

How about Violas and Violets? Are they the same thing? Yes – viola is the Latin name and violet the common name.

African Violets, popular for many years as a house plant, are not related to true violas.

More Info about Violas and Pansies

Photos

Photos by:

Used under a Creative Commons license.

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The Gardening column on CaryCitizen is sponsored, in part, by Citizen Websites.

A Short Drive from Cary: Chapel Hill Rose Garden

Story and photos by Hal Goodtree

Cary, NC – Just a short drive from Cary is the wonderful world of Chapel Hill. More like its own republic than a town, some say. Just recently, I discovered the most wonderful rose garden tucked in a park far away from the hubbub of Franklin Street. Read more

Fall Gardening: What to do Now

Story by guest columnist  Christine Pechner, Landscape Architect. Photo by Hal Goodtree.

This sure was a hot summer here in Cary and there is no doubt that you are looking forward to the beautiful weather of the coming months. With cooler temperatures comes the opportunity to get outside to tackle some gardening tasks that need to be done along with things that you can do to add color to your yard next spring. Read more

Beware: Asian Needle Ant

 

By Matt Young, Photo by Benoit Guenard of NCSU Biology Department.

Cary, NC – The North Carolina Pest Management Association (NCPMA) and NC State are alerting Carolinians to be on the lookout for the Asian Needle Ant, a relatively new pest in the region. NCPMA is the trade association representing the professional pest management industry in North Carolina. Read more

Gardening: Rescue the Fescue

Story by Hal Goodtree. Photo by Rosie Rosenberger.

Cary, NC – It’s still pretty hot out in Cary. But as the days begin to get shorter, it’s time to think about a plan to rescue the fescue. Read more

Gardening: Protect Your Trees in Hot Weather

Story and photo by Hal Goodtree

Cary, NC – Trees can get stressed in hot weather, and it’s sure been hot in Cary. Here’s a gardening tip to help your trees survive (even thrive) during the height of summer heat. Read more

Recipe: Summer Squashage

Story by Kaynan Goldberg. Kaynan is CaryCitizen’s 12-year-old columnist on all things frugal, crunchy, healthy and green. She blogs at VeggiesGoCrunch. Photo by Steve Minor.

Cary, NC – Sometimes in summer, it feels like all they sell at the farmers’ markets (and/or all you can grow in your garden) is summer squash and zucchini.  Read more

Pictures: Herbfest 2011

Story and pictures by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – Just a few pictures from Herbfest in case you couldn’t make it or just wanted to relive the glory. Read more

In My Cary Garden: April 20

Story and photos by Hal Goodtree

Cary, North Carolina – I like the idea of a Cary gardening column being an almanac of what grows in our town and when. So, this week, here’s what’s blooming in my North Carolina garden.

Chives and Alliums

Chives, garlic, onions, leeks and shallots – they’re all part of the allium family. Many alliums bloom in this part of N.C. at this time of year.

In my garden, we grow humble, 6″ garlic chives in a pot. They are blooming right now in a sunny spot and come back year after year. My chives need almost no care whatsoever. I barely water them. They’re also nice is omelets, salads and stir fries.

Dianthus

Dianthus covers about 300 species of flowers, mostly shades of pink. Mine are low-growing perennials that die back in the winter. Carnation is in the dianthus family.

Dianthus puts on a happy show in spring, then retires gracefully to the back of the garden. I have them in a sunny bed that’s only moderately watered.

Indigo

When I think of indigo, I think of blue, like the color of blue jeans. It’s true, wild indigo can have deep blue flowers.

But wild indigo, a native to the North American prairies, can come in white and yellow too.

My indigo (Baptisia leucantha alba, White Wild Indigo) grows in a pretty dry bed in the shade under a plum tree. The cascading white flowers are very showy and long-lasting. The stems have a distinctly blue-green color.

Clematis

April is the season for Clematis here in the Piedmont.

Clematis must love North Carolina, because it thrives in conditions from full sun all the way to partial shade.  A vining plant, Clematis explodes in April with 4″ flowers that cover the entire plant.

Different varieties have slightly different bloom times and flower sizes. They generally come in shades from pure white to pinks, blues and purples.

Easy to grow in Cary, Clematis blooms profusely in the spring and is a great way to add vertical interest to your garden. This picture is from my neighbor’s house up near the mailbox in full sun.

Azaleas

Also blooming in my garden this week are azaleas.

Azaleas are a most Southern of plants, with azalea festivals up and down the region. No need for me to tell you, dear readers, about the importance and beauty of azaleas in Southern gardens.

What’s Growing In Your Garden?

Cary garden pictures and gardening stories are always welcome – gardening@carycitizen.com.

Herbfest 2011 – Coming in May

Story by Lindsey Chester, photo by Marcia Hansen.

Cary, NC- Last year, the Friends of Page-Walker created a new festival in downtown Cary – Herbfest.

My daughter Emma and I attended and she was thrilled to take home a seedling that grew into a large basil plant. The festival is returning on the weekend of May 7 and has expanded to include live performances and demonstrations along with the herbs and gifts for sale.

Read more