Like it or not, it is time to think of Autumn tubs and baskets. It is tempting to leave the summer displays for as long as possible, but for a really satisfactory winter show, you need to make the change before the end of October. We recommend rattan baskets for winter. Underplanted wire baskets are very vulnerable to the wind. The best plan of all is to have two sets; baskets are not very expensive and then you can just swap them over when the frosts come. The autumn pansies and violas and ready now. We are sticking with the reliable Panola pansies – the flowers are a little smaller than some varieties, but they are plentiful and carry on in the depths of winter – as do all the violas.
We have the trailing Cool Wave pansies again. These have proved very weatherproof and the colour range is even greater this year.
We often get asked the difference between pansies and violas – actually, they are all violas, as are violets. Pansies are basically viola wittrockiana, but modern varieties have been cross-bred with other kinds of viola to get the huge range of colours and flower forms now available.
Did you know the name pansy is from the French word “pensée”, meaning thought or remembrance?
To go with the pansies, we have a wide range of basket plants to add foliage interest. These are mostly hardy perennials and can afterwards be planted out in your border. A word of warning, though… Cupressus macrocarpa Goldcrest and Chamaecyparis elwoodii and thyoides make for a very attractive centre plant for baskets and tubs, but their final height in the garden is 10-16 feet and counting! Ask to see the cautionary photograph by the till!