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The Importance of Seasonal Plants

Garden Reports and Rejoicing – April 13

Ilove violas and pansies. I value their happy, colorful faces and their ability to survive the fluctuations of spring temperatures. For me, these plants represent hope, faith and willingness. Unfortunately I’m afraid that the general public is shying away from short-lived, seasonal flowers.

Why plant pansies now, they ask, when in a month I can put in summer annuals and be done with it? At the end of the summer the same people ask why they should plant mums or ornamental cabbages instead of just cleaning out the summer annuals and shutting the gardens down for the winter.

One planting of annuals might work for some, but I propose that there are deeper, less obvious reasons to plant seasonal annuals.

For better or worse, most communities don’t come together for village-wide, cyclical celebrations anymore. The entire town isn’t turning out to dance around the maypole or rejoice in the fall harvest. Nevertheless, such traditional festivities that honor connections with each other and the earth resonate with our hearts and souls. They touch a primal, deep part of ourselves.

I think that when we make the effort to put the plants-of-the-season in our yards and gardens, we connect ourselves to the seasons and long-held traditions that are important on many levels.

While putting violas in my urns and gardens last week I was cheered by the longer day’s light and serenaded by the wild birds’ spring songs. I felt connected to all who were rejoicing in the coming of the growing season, and although my hands were digging in dirt, my heart was dancing around a maypole.

My main problem is choosing which pansies or violas I want, because basically, I want them all.

4 comments to The Importance of Seasonal Plants

  • maggie bresnahan

    I love Etain violas. I love their colors and most especially I love their fragrance. I am finding that when planted in containers, they tend to come back the following spring. By the way I listen to you every Saturday while driving the bus on Saturday on Martha’s Vineyard. I love your show.

  • Thanks, Maggie! I appreciate hearing that you listen to GardenLine, and I love picturing all the activities that my listeners do – from laying in bed waking up to driving the bus – while they are listening. Radio is so wonderful for weaving into our everyday experiences, isn’t it?

  • Joyce

    Last week we drove up to our home at dusk, returning from a vacation down south. The headlights caught my mailbox planter…FILLED WITH PANSIES a neighbor had thoughtfully planted to surprise us. What a wonderful welcome!

    Karma….a few autumns ago I secretly planted daffs in a neighbor’s yard so she would get to enjoy them the next spring…except when she saw them she thought she was losing her mind because she didn’t remember planting them!!! Then I had to tell her about my scheme.

  • I have to admit that as much as I love spring and summer annuals, I just want to buy, prep and plant one time and watch my perennials come back year after year. Thanks for the great article, I really enjoyed reading it.