I swung by Home Depot (Broadview) yesterday in the hopes that they’d have things to plant, and they do! Lots of little pots of spring bulbs, which I have skipped for now, but will likely come back for next week. But I went in on some big violas, and yesterday I cleaned out some planters and put them in. They complement all my early spring ephemerals beautifully. (Blooming now: snowdrops, crocuses, dwarf irises, scilla, winter aconite, along with perennial hellebores.)
Now, before you come at me with “But it’s snowing today! And last frost isn’t for months, Mary Anne!” let me just gently remind you that last frost date (or Mother’s Day, or Memorial Day, if you’re being even more conservative) is meant for TENDER plants, like tomatoes.
Violas aren’t tender. Pansies aren’t tender. They are hardy as heck, and they can take the snow, they can take a frost, they’ll be just fine. (In sheltered spots in my yard, they’ve sometimes even overwintered and come up again in the spring.) I’ve been planting them in mid-March every year since we moved into this house in 2011, and they’ve always done great.
If we get a hard frost, some of the petals may suffer a bit — just pinch those flowers off; the plant will be fine, and will put out new flowers shortly. But don’t hesitate to start planting in mid-March — the guideline is, if the garden stores have it in stock, it’s almost certainly fine to plant, because they don’t want you coming back and complaining and demanding refunds.
(Do remember that if it isn’t raining (or snowing), you’ll want to water new plantings daily for a few weeks.)
White Flower Farm just told me that the two roses I ordered have shipped, so that means that early next week, I’ll be planting bare root roses too. Exciting! The Home Depot also has quite a few of those in stock, of the more commonly available kinds.
Spring spring springy spring spring. With a bit of snow.
(NOTE FOR LOCALS: The hot dog place in the store now also offers elotes AND takes credit cards. NICE.)