Pansies in Edmond

jaleeisa(6b Oklahoma)September 27, 2008

Well, we got our pansies in yesterday at the WalMart on Danforth and Santa Fe. We only got 1 rack this time, probably 60 flats of 4 in pots. Some quite pretty colors in them. Not sure when we're expecting another shipment on them yet. It was a HUGE truck, and I ended up with heat exhaustion getting them all unloaded. So I'm home today. We did get some of the gorgeous dark purple ones :) I would get them quick, though because the requests for them have been really high the last few weeks and I'm sure they'll go VERY quickly. We also got about 60 pots of scarlet red with white throats Penstemon. They're really healthy and priced nicely as well. When you walk into the garden patio, you'll also notice the beautiful scent of cyclamen. We got lots and lots of these, so some of them are outside, of necessity. Not sure if they're the more delicate florist cyclamen or the hardy that I've used in very shaded borders. They're not marked really either way and I don't know enough about them to make a distinction visually.

I've already picked up my Mums and pansies and the boys wanted a cyclamen each, which we're keeping inside just in case they're the florists. I'm gonna get a couple of the beard tongues this week for my new gargoyle/gothic bed :)And I'm gonna pick up some of the Claudia tulips we have as well as some mixed crocus.

So, what is everyone else planting this fall?


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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Hi Kathy,

Wow....pansies already? Perhaps y'all are cooler there than we are here in southern OK. (I know that you are in zone 6 and I am in zone 7.) With our daytime highs this week in the 87-89 degree range, and current soil temperatures (4" below bare soil) in the upper 70s and, some days, in the lower 80s, it is still too warm to plant pansies in our part of the state (Love County).

And, the issue of exactly when to plant pansies here in Oklahoma is one I have STRUGGLED with since moving here. It seems like our fall heat (in terms of the daytime high temperatures) can hang on forever some years....there have been years it has stayed in the 90s well into October.

So, instead of planting by the calendar, which seems impossibly hard in our erratic climate, I plant fall flowers by 2 temperatures: the daytime high temperatures and, much more importantly, the soil temperatures. I check my soil temperatures using a standard kitchen thermometer with a metal probe (the soil thermometers they sell are identical but cost 2 to 3 times as much).

For pansies, you can plant them anytime once the soil has cooled down to 70 degrees or lower, and anytime the soil is 45 degrees or warmer. If you plant pansies while soil temperatures are exceeding 70 degrees, you tend to get yellowing foliage, fewer flowers and a tendency towards legginess. If you plant pansies once soil temperatures drop below 45 degrees, the plants' roots tend to remain inactive and, therefore, the plants don't grow very much or flower very well. So, I try to plant mine as early as possible once the soil temperatures drop below 70 degrees AND STAY THERE! LOL Now, figuring out if they are going to stay there can be hard as well and that is where I rely on the daytime air temperatures. For me, once the high temps. are staying right at or below 80 degrees, then I tend to find the soil temps. are at or below 70 degrees. So, those are the magic temps. that tell me I can go ahead and plant pansies.

I don't know when everyone else plants their pansies, but this is what works for me. And, believe me, I have tried planting at different times in the decade we've been here. I have planted them in September (earliest couple of years here and it was too early) and in November (next couple of years here and it was too late) and, finally, in October (which works most years, but it depends on when soil temps. cool). In Texas, in zone 8, I often planted them in mid- to late-November, but here I aim and hope for mid- to late-October, depending on those soil temps.

I love to plant pansies (some years I raise my own from seed, but I didn't this year) and their cousin, violas (Johnny Jump-ups), as well. I usually plant pansies from transplants but violas are as simple as sprinkling seed on the surface of the soil and watering. The Johnny Jump-ups self-sow here (and did so in Texas too). Other cool-season annuals that we enjoy are dianthus (often last several years here), flowering kale and flowering cabbage (also ridiculously easy from seed--just like planting the vegetable-type cabbage or kale), swiss chard, esp. "Bright Lights" or "Neon Lights", and sometimes English Daisies or Carnations. Oh, and here in southern OK, we can grow Snapdragons in the cool season, although sometimes snow gets them! I don't know how well any of the rest of those grow in colder parts of Oklahoma, though, because "most" years we have a significantly milder winter here in extreme southern OK, with little if any snow or ice.

And, because the deer and bunnies are hungry all winter long, I can't plant ANY cool-season flowers unless they are in hanging baskets on the porch, in containers protected by mesh/chicken wire cages, or inside the fenced-in veggie garden.

Since pansies don't take kindly to having snow or ice sitting on them, I try to remember to cover up the pansies with floating row covers like Remay, frost blankets, bedsheets, etc. if snow or ice are expected.

Oh, and quite often, Dusty Miller survives the winters here. I have some that are on their third year here. A row of dusty miller with its silvery-white foliage sets off a bed of pansies quite nicely.

I don't do a lot of indoor plants because I can't keep the cats out of them, but I do like to grow Amaryllis indoor in pots....I usually plant one a week from early October through early January so I have blooms over an extended period of time. I also love Christmas Cactus inside and paper whites as well.

So, Kathy, that's my cool-season report, although I am sure I forgot the name of some cool season plant we grow and it will pop into my head as soon as I post this message.

What else do you like to grow in the cool season?

Dawn, from hot and sunny (unfortuntely) southern OK

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 3:53PM
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Good morning all

I spent time at the local nursery (TLC) and bought only some of that pretty pampas grass like stuff, (sorry no tag). You have prolly seen it, it has those gorgeous plumes right now. I plan to put it so that the electric box won't be seen as easy.

I also managed to snag some red surprise lillies. :) Chris (MG friend from Tulsa) and I bought all they had, and split them. We each got 9 of the tiny bulbs.

Did you know, the red variety has tiny bulbs? I was surprised at the size.

Chris also helped me decide where to plant my little Japanese Maple, and gave me some other well received hints.

Since then, I stopped at a couple of Lowes, and Walmart, looking for left over herbs (want some parsley, wish I dug some out at my last house) and trees.

Bought an Autumn Blaze Maple, and an Autumn Fern at Lowes.

Now, I'll get to do some planting today. :)

My yard is a changing.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 8:36AM
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jaleeisa(6b Oklahoma)

Dawn, on the pansies, I know. I'm rather surprised that we have them already as well. I keep warning everyone that asks questions about them that it's still rather warm for them and they will need to baby them or expect them to wilt and possibly die. People have been asking for them for weeks, especially since we've gotten the mums in. Mine are currently sitting in a very shaded spot and watered twice a day. I went ahead and picked them up because the ones I wanted are one of the harder color combos to find. They're that deep burnt umber and deep burgundy. I don't understand why that shade is so difficult to find around here, it's really gorgeous and just sings Fall to me :) I've been binging them inside before I go to work, before it starts getting really warm. Then in the evenings they go back out. I'm gonna baby them because they're so difficult to find. I've repotted them from the four inch nursery containers they were in to a sturdy 6 in container each until it's cool enough to mix some of them into my potted mums. After a day long foray to the various nurseries around town, with the exception of TLC, I came across them. They looked so yummy sitting there among the pastels and less rich colors and there were only a few of them. LOL. and I also found the Queen of the Night tulips I wanted for a Round Robin trade for this next month. Halloween theme this time, so I have the Queen of the Nights, I put in a plant order Saturday, when I was stuck at home (and in the house!) with heat exhaustion, and ordered several things for myself as well as more for the swap. I have some Jack o' lantern seeds, so I ordered a Candlestick plant to go with it :) and a Lollipop Lily for whomever my partner turns out to be. So those four things will be going into my partner's box as well as some other things I ordered enough to share. Hehe, and with the things I'm sending my partner, I'll have a couple of each to keep as well.

I found both pink and white old fashioned Bleeding Hearts on a good sale as well as fern leaved Bleeding Heart, so I will have the three of them to spread around my yards :) I also ordered some dwarf Fritilaria, some checkered lilies (which will share for my box), Green Mystery Tulips, Red Creeping Sedum, Trout Lilies for the gorgeous yellow they will add to my deep shade areas, a variegated Firespray Lily that is just gorgeous! and some winter Aconite.

I'll be planting all of this, plus I'll be picking up the aforementioned Claudia tulips as well as some early crocus and hyacinths, I'm thinking about some pink splash weigela we have at work as well as a Cordyline. And I may, if I'm not too worn out planting bulbs, pick up some Full Tide and Superstition Iris and some Angelique double tulips.

So that's my planting list for the flower beds so far. I'm sure it will grow, it always does.

Moni, I've seen some "pebble" sized Surprise lily bulbs. They grow just fine, as long as the bulbs are healthy. I have some red and some white that a couple of friends sent me in Round Robin swaps and am anticipating seeing them bloom! We're seeing little shoots coming up, so hopefully it won't be much longer!

I know that though we don't have any potted herbs, that we still have parsley seed. And I think I've got some extra curled parsley seed if you weren't able to find any.

OHHH! Hilarious story! About a week ago a lady came in. She had her husband and two grown sons with her. She was all frantic, and I DO mean frantic, to find some catnip plants. Well, of course we don't have any, and we don't have seed for it this late in the season. She was telling me all about how it's not just for cats, but keeps mosquitoes away and makes a pain relieving tincture and tea.... so, I told her that this late in the season, we carry only a few herb seeds, like basil, parsley, etc and offered to show them to her, mentioning that I'd not noticed catnip on the rack, but I could be wrong. She stopped dead still and looked at me with this really confused expression and said "Catnip is an herb?" It was all I could do not to crack up. I managed to keep my composure, just a small twitch of lips (at least until she'd gone!) and assured her that yes, it was an herb in the mint family. I told her about GW and suggested that if she couldn't find it elsewhere, that she might try some of the seed traders here on the Seed Exchange. Well, it wasn't on the rack and she went about her way after I mentioned that Home Depot also had some Citronella plants, I'd noticed the other day, to help with the mosquitoes. After she left the department, I HAD to go out into the patio! Thankfully there were no customers about and I was able to crack up! I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes! I don't mean to mock anyone, but seriously, how could one know so much about the uses and not know it's an herb?! Even one of the young women that I work with came out laughing and though she doesn't garden and is rather.. "blond" (her description) even she knows it's an herb!

I still get a chuckle out of that one!


    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 8:21AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Oh, and I did forget to say that I do buy the pansies when the stores get them in--partly because I want to get the colors I want, and also because, if I wait until it is the "right time", there won't be any left! You know, when I am ready to buy cool-season plants in mid-October, they've been replaced by the early arrival of Chrismas-type stuff! I hate that the stores rush the fall plants and get them in so early, but they do it because people want to buy them then. It drives me nuts though....sort of like seeing bathing suits in department stores in January and Christmas merchandise in the stores before Halloween.

Like you, I try to keep them shaded and cool (and well-watered) and baby them along in the heat until the timing is right.

I think the maroon/burnt umber ones are so hard to find for EXACTLY the reason you like them.....their color is just so perfect for fall. I'm partial to yellow ones to plant in containers near the big red barn, but I like to have the darker, more "autumn" looking colors near the house.

We were in the 90s this weekend (GRRRR--sick of the heat!) so I haven't even picked up any mums yet. Luckily for me, the native goldenrods and purple gayfeathers are blooming in massive profusion in our pastures so that is feeding my "need" for some autumn color! LOL Well, and all the summer flowers are in bloom because it still feels like summer.

You're going to be busy planting this fall! I will be putting in several shrubs along the outside of the backyard fence because I want to have more of a windbreak from the north winds. I need to get some daffodils to plant around the chicken coop and guinea coop. They look bare in the spring before the dozens of 4 o'clocks emerge in late April.

The catnip story is a hoot! You know, a lot of people buy and plant stuff and have no clue what they have. I plant catnip everywhere.....and even surround new plants with woven wire tomato cages to keep the cats off of it until it has a chance to become established. I have quite a lot of catmint too and some of the cats like it as much as, or more than, the catnip. Last year, one of my friends was ASTONISHED to learn catmint was attractive to cats. Huh? Why do you think it is called CATmint! This year I had a catnip border on the east side of the garden....a double row of about 45 plants, spaced about 15" apart. Once I removed the cages, the cats had a lot of fun rolling on it and in it. I let them go to seed and hope they reseed everywhere. I always have catmint and catnip in the garden because they REALLY attract a lot of pollinators.


I can't believe you didn't bring all your herbs with you! I HATE leaving plants behind when we move because I worry that the new homeowner won't cherish them the way I do.

I look forward to seeing what you do with your new yard. Your previous yard was so gorgeous!


    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 9:18AM
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Even though it's still warm, I've planted my pansies. They're all in north and east beds so they get some morning sun only and seem to be doing fine so far. I'm keeping them pretty moist too, as our soil drains fast.

Finding any plant at the right time has become almost as difficult as finding the right type of clothing for the current weather or seasonal decorations any where close to that season. I started seeing Christmas stuff right after Labor Day! I do not want to look at icicle lights and snowmen when it's well into the 90s! And a clerk in the garden center at the Fort Sill PX said they didn't have any bulbs because they had sent them all back to the warehouse as they weren't selling. She was dumbstruck when I told her they weren't selling because they weren't supposed to be planted until fall. Where do they find these idiots?


    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 1:57PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I agree with you. When Kristine and I were shopping for dorm stuff in July, we saw Christmas stuff already out. Ridiculous!

I hate to say this, but I blame it on Wal-Mart. Haven't you noticed that they have some sort of schedule that they follow where they roll out school clothes during week A, school supplies during week B, (of course, this starts in June, you know), backpacks and multi-boxes of facial tissues during week C, Halloween candy and supplies during week D, Christmas decorations during week E, etc., etc., etc. And, you know, it doesn't matter what the weather is doing or what the seasons are doing or whatever. They have a corporate marketing calendar (clearly drawn up to beat all the other stores and get their goods in "first") and they are going to stick to it! And, once Wal-Mart became so regimented and calendar-oriented, all the other retail establishments followed suit.

Today we were at a Lowe's in Sherman, Texas, and it was in the upper 80s, sunny and hot as all get-out. When we first walked inside the store, to our left, the first thing you see is flower bulbs, which is OK--it is that time of year. Behind the bulbs? Halloween decorations. Next to the Halloween decorations? Christmas decorations. Next to them? "Summer clearance" items like mowers and weedeaters. Next to them? Leaf blowers and chipper-shredders. Next to them? Kerosene heaters and lanterns. So, that's what retail gives us. Here it is September, and we can buy our Christmas stuff at the same time we are buying flower bulbs and Halloween stuff....and let's go ahead and buy a heater while it is 80-whatever degrees outside.

I bought daffodil bulbs. Just bulbs. I am sure I am a great disappointment to all those marketing people who want me to buy my Christmas stuff in September. I don't even buy Halloween stuff in September! LOL


    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 5:08PM
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