Time to consider cool clime colour
You can grown pansies indoors too
Take a trip to your local garden centre this autumn to see what new plants have hit the shelves. Among them, you’ll find three new heucheras from the Little Cuties series: ‘Blondie’, ‘Sweet Tart’ and ‘Sugar Berry’. Heucheras are grown predominantly for their outstanding foliage, and these latest three will not disappoint.
‘Blondie’ is a rich caramel-coloured miniature with creamy yellow flowers (unique in itself) that are produced over an extended period. ‘Sweet Tart’ has limecoloured foliage with cerise and hot pink flowers. ‘Sugar Berry’ has violet leaves with dark veins and short flower spikes of soft pink. All are hardy plants that grow well in containers, or you can mass-plant them in the garden for a very showy display.
Heucheras prefer part shade, growing best when protected from afternoon sun. Plant in free-draining soil and feed occasionally with slow release fertiliser. These petite heucheras grow 12 centimetres high (the flower spikes are higher, of course) and spread to about 20cm.
If you like your tulips, try the new redblooded ‘Ronaldo’ from NZ Bulbs and Aorangi Bulb Nurseries. A deep mahogany, almost black, colour, Ronaldo reaches 40cm high and blooms mid to late spring. It’s truly lovely in the garden, it’s rod-straight stems ideal for picking too.
Or perhaps you would prefer something a little brighter. Try ‘Asahi’, also from NZ Bulbs and Aorangi Bulb Nurseries, a tulip with antique rose colouring that blends to golden yellow. It also grows 40cm high and blooms from mid to late spring.
I’m a big fan of pansies and violas for cool season colour and now’s a good time to plant them. I particularly like Egmont Seeds’ latest offering: the pansy ‘Nature Mulberry Shades’ with its beautiful autumn-like hues of pinky-purple, gold and deep red. This particular variety is said to cope well with wind and rain too.
I also like Egmont Seeds’ Viola ‘Sorbet Banana Cream’, a hardy annual with yellow and white blooms. It, too, is rain and wind resistant, flowering during autumn and spring and even growing through winter.
Head to your local garden centre and see what other pansies and violas are in stock. There are lots of lovely shades to suit your own taste. Mass-plant them in borders or fill a selection of containers to dot around your garden.
Give them a moist, well-drained soil that is enriched with compost. Protect seedlings from hungry slugs and snails.
You can also grow pansies and violas indoors with some success, but to do so you will need to plant up three or more pots. Bring one container inside and when its flowers begin to fade, take it outside to rejuvenate and bring another container inside in its place.
Colourful: New varieties of pansies are available now.