March is high time for Pansies and Violas. If you planted them earlier, they should be in full bloom, but it’s not too late to plant them now.
Pansies and I have a long history. My Mother, from whom I inherited my love for gardening, planted a long border of Pansies every year. Back in the 1950s he bought them in strawberry pots, the same container in which the berries were sold then, roughly the size of a modern four inch pot but made of a skinny wood material. She planted Majestic Giants for their large and cheerful faces. There are lots of wonderful new hybrids, the Deltas and Dynamites for instance, but I still like the Majestic Giants.
Later in life my friend, Bob Smaus, the now-retired former garden editor of the Los Angeles Times, embarrassed me by writing in one of his widely read articles, that I grow long thumb nails during Pansy season. I confess that I still do because one of the two most important factors in keeping Pansies blooming is to dead head them (remove the spent blossoms) regularly and I have never found a more efficient pinching tool than a strong thumbnail.[break]
The second important factor is feeding. Pansies are hungry plants and the more you feed them the more they will bloom. I use our own product, Rogers Flower Food, the best fertilizer for blooming plants I have ever found.
Because my garden soil is the kind of adobe they build houses out of, I grow most of my flowering plants in pots. There is no better pot plant than the Pansy.[break]
Most people don’t think of Pansies as cut flowers, but I was lucky enough to inherit a low flat bowl in which to spread them out with their prostrate faces smiling up at the ceiling. Almost any flat bowl can be adapted for this display technique.
For many years when shopping at florists I would see Anemones for sale that were at least twice as big as the ones I was growing from bulbs. I learned that they were named ‘Mona Lisa’ anemones, but I never could find them as bulbs. Then, just a few years ago, Mona Lisas showed up in four inch pots at one of our key color growers. Turns out that they are grown from seed not bulbs. Their performance in the garden, pots or the ground. Exceeds the wildest dreams of gardeners who want to grow flowers for cutting. They have strong stems , big flowers and they just keep blooming and blooming. Colors include white, pink, red, blue, wine and various bi-color combinations. The cut flowers last a week or more, but be careful: they drink their water from the vase.