Monday, October 3, 2011

October, Pansies and Daydreaming of Fall

Today's the first Monday in October ("premier lundi d'octobre") and I'm daydreaming about vibrant fall foliage in shades of orange, red, brown and yellow. I think about fall flowers - pansies and mums, and imagine frost on the fields and the smell and feel of  the crisp fall air.

It all sounds so quaint and cliche I know, but seasonal changes are some of the most beautiful of life's free offerings. The simplest of things. It's the passage of time, from season to season, and the recurring sights, sounds and smells that mark time and cause me to pause and daydream about people and places of long ago.

With these thoughts in mind and a yearning for "home" and West Virginia, I ventured out yesterday to a local plant nursery thinking of Fall and, as always, ideas of how to celebrate the season by decorating my yard with pumpkins and flowers.  I soon learn I'm too eager though, and am temporarily disappointed when I'm told that it's  too early to plant pansies (that's right, I'm in Texas now!) and need to wait a few weeks.

So I'm given a quick education by a gardener at the nursery and am told that planting Fall pansies in Texas requires special considerations and conditions. When to plant them is most critical. While pansies can survive temperatures in the single digits and bounce back when warmer weather returns, they have to be planted early enough for strong roots to develop and before cold weather hits. For best growing results, pansies should be planted when the soil temperature is between 45 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  If you plant pansies when the soil is too cold (below 45 degrees) they'll have stunted plants and little or no flowers.  If you plant too early, when the soil is above 70 degrees, the plants will be "leggy" with little or no flowers and yellow leaves.  So I'll wait, watching the weather, and as soon as Fort Worth has a week of below 70 degrees days, I'm running out to get pansies and plant them in the ground!

While only temporarily discouraged yesterday and with my camera in hand, I took pictures of the beautiful fall pansies and started planning and dreaming about where I'll plant them.  With so many choices, It'll take me a day or two to decide on which beautiful flowers to choose anyway.

Au revoir, Mitty

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