Last week I took Nate with me for his first visit to the local greenhouse, Rekker’s, on Highway #2 in Bowmanville. I picked up some pansies and violas for potting up on the front porch. Nate slept while I browsed, taking way longer than necessary to narrow down my selections. In the end I chose the same varieties I bought last year: Sorbet™ Antique Shades and Sorbet™ Coconut Swirl violas, and Panola XP™ Purple Face pansies. (Did you know that the markings on pansies are known as whiskers?)
It’s easy to buy planters filled with mature, heavily flowering annuals, but I like to buy the cell packs, save a few dollars, and plant my own. It takes longer for the plants to fill the containers, but I enjoy watching them grow and seeing how they change over the course of the season. I also have more control over the colours that go together into each container.
When I pot up annuals, I like to arrange them loosely on top of the soil to figure out how many individual plants I’ll need in each pot.
I rough up the roots before planting, a trick I learned from my co-workers at the greenhouse I used to work at. Sometimes when you buy annuals in cell packs like these, the plants are such a tangled, root-bound mess. These ones didn’t look too bad.
I use my two fingers to make a hole that is about the same size as the ball of roots, then tuck each plant into its hole, firming up the soil around each one as I go.
I give each pot a good watering and set them in place on our front porch. As spring wears on, I’ll continue to water and deadhead the spent blooms.