Cool annuals – flowers for NOW!

Cool annuals – flowers for NOW!  

In early spring we get goofy weather – one day warm – the next day freezing rain and snow. The past few weeks we have had the perfect example of ‘early spring’… BUT we want to put out some flowers now – as it is supposed to warm up this week (at least we hope so!)


Pansies: We love these plants for a whole bunch of reasons – great colours – both clear faced solid colors or the equally neat ‘blotched’ face pansies – with the word blotch being a pansy buzzword for that big freckle of dark purple on the blossoms. Pansies come in a few different flower sizes with ‘Giant’ flowers being about  7-10 cm (3-4”) wide – old time favourite ‘Majestic Giants’ are an example – to more modern varieties that tend to have slightly smaller flowers but better flower power.  Series like ‘Delta’ and ‘Crown’ are some of the many great lines of pansies to pick from.  In Southern Ontario we generally see pansies being very free flowered April through July – and if we have a cool summer they may be in bloom even longer.  We like to plant in blocks of colour – so consider planting then in groups of 3-5 plants to get some pop out of them. Pansies are easy to grow and just need a little plant food to keep going.


Sweet Alyssum: These flowers live up to their name!  Very fragrant , and will provide you with flowers all summer.  Alyssum is  frost tolerant,  and will self sow and can provide you with year after year of bright color in milder climates. They are rather small plants  (3 to 6 inches tall) and produce clusters of tiny flowers in clumps. The blooms come in pink, purple, and white.   Re-seeded flowers arise in May to October and can be encouraged to rebloom by cutting back spent flowers.


Erysimum (Wall Flower):This gorgeous, deliciously fragrant plant should be in every container and spring garden!  It is easy to grow and provides months of colourful blooms from mid spring to early fall. It is very versatile and can grow  60-75cm (24-30 inches) in height and spreads 45-60cm (18-20 inches) wide.


Primula (Primrose): Actually a perennial! Great in pots now, then plant in your garden to enjoy for years to come.  They  bloom in early spring, offering a variety of form, size, and color. They are suitable for use in garden beds and borders as well as in containers or for naturalizing areas of the lawn. When given the proper growing conditions, these vigorous plants will multiply each year, adding stunning colors to the landscape.


This is just a smattering – but look for ‘cool’ season flowers and let’s get out there and get planting – this weekend!