Ask Carol Guedalia, horticulturist with The Greenery on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, the easiest way to add long-lasting color to the fall garden, and her answer is simple: pansies and violas. "They bloom prolifically and just ask for a few things," says Carol. "They love sun—at least six hours a day—and fertile, well-drained soil. Also, it's important to feed your flowers." She prefers an organic fertilizer, such as blood meal, periodically supplemented with a liquid plant food. She mixes her petals with herbs such as parsley, lemon thyme, golden sage, and rosemary, as well as with veggies such as kales, chards, and mustards. Carol adds, "Pansies and violas are always happy plants—ideal for both new and experienced gardeners."
Try Cool Wave Pansies!
Be sure to try this season's newest blooms: Cool Wave pansies. These spreading plants love cold weather. They grow 6 to 8 inches tall, and one plant can spread 24 to 30 inches, so you won't have to use as many. Look for these selections at your local nursery: 'Yellow,' 'White,' 'Frost,' and 'Violet Wing.'
Fill Up Flowerbeds
Use Cool Wave pansies at the front edge of your beds to create sweeps of color. Choose taller plants, such as Chinese pinks (Dianthus chinensis), larkspurs, foxgloves, snapdragons, and poppies, to bloom behind them.
Perfect for Container Gardens
You'll love these pansies in hanging baskets or pots, where their flowers can cascade over the sides.