Have you ever noticed that people take plants too seriously? They seem to feel that once a plant is planted, it should keep growing where it is, however poorly it may be growing or not growing. (Other possible reasons are that they are either too cheap, or too lazy, to do anything about the problem.)
The most obvious example may be found in foundation plantings — the flowers, shrubs and trees that people plant close to their homes. In Toronto, where we used to live, I would venture that between one-third and one-half of homes in the older neighbourhoods had wildly inappropriate plantings around them. Trees were placed in front of windows, had grown much too big, and were completely blocking views. Shrubs were growing madly in front of windows, across walkways to the house, or against other shrubs.
Here in the Greater Daglan Area, we take a different approach. If a plant is doing poorly, it is probably because it is ill-suited to the climate or the location. If a plant has been seriously damaged by frost, it should be replaced. (I refer you to “Operation: Oleander Watch, the last chapter,” posted on April 9 — in which my prize oleander is pulled from the earth and destroyed, because the cold weather in February effectively killed it.)
Which brings us to pansies. In Canada, we planted pansies as early as we could in the spring — if not in March, then certainly in April. But here, pansies are a fall or winter plant, as they can typically grow through our relatively mild winter. Like all pansies, however, they eventually get sparse and somewhat “leggy,” with long stalks that bend over. In Toronto, pansies were pretty much useless by the time the hot weather of July or August arrived; here, the problem comes much sooner. Like this:
This called for the old switcheroo. So a few days ago, we pulled out all the purple pansies from the pots on our front steps, and bought replacements. This was pretty easy, because there is a large flowers-and-shrubs stall in the weekly Daglan market on Sundays, just a few steps from our house. And here’s the new collection of dark purple petunias:
And now, since you’ve put up with my rant so far, I offer the following photo as a sort of visual bonus. It’s a picture taken by my wife Jan, of some red poppies growing in a field near our village:
They’re everywhere now, and they really brighten up the (incredibly green) countryside.