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Northeast Gardening: My Annual Adventure

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I filled my containers with organic potting soil and corralled an all-star assortment - ranunculus and diascia and nemesia and, yes, pansies.

yellow flower

For weeks the empty pots on my patio called out, "Plant me, plant me." But spring showers drowned their pleas, and a sprained ankle sidelined me. Besides it's not like my yard was bleak - daffodils danced, hellebores nodded, hyacinths scented the air. But the pots on my patio needed fulfillment.

Finally I took action.

I filled my containers with organic potting soil and corralled an all-star assortment - ranunculus and diascia and nemesia and, yes, pansies. What's not to like about flowers that can take the still-chill days and nippy nights?

Here's the dossier on my early-spring mood enhancers;

Ranunculus, sometimes known as Persian buttercup, went front and center.

pink flower

I think of it as the spring rose. It's a flower of many petals that shows off in vibrant shades and bi-colors, too - my picks were yellow and rosy pink. The blooms can grow 6 inches wide with straight stems and lacy leaves, and they make great cut flowers. When they fade, the tubers can be stored in a cool, dry place. Or do what I do and treat them like annuals.

Then I added diascia and nemesia - both snapdragon relatives and South African natives. Diascia offers lots of tiny flowers, in a range of colors, on creeping, leafy stems that will spill over the container's edge. It's an airy plant that ties the arrangement together. And when its beauty fades, just shear back the leggy plants by half, and they may bloom again when the weather cools down.

Irene

Nemesia grows 1 to 2 feet tall with snapdragonlike blooms, including scented varieties. I tucked three plants behind the ranunculus to provide a delicate backdrop. My favorite purple and yellow pansies filled out the pot. As always, we exchanged smiles.

This planting won't last through summer, but when it wanes, I'll bring in heat-loving blooms. And my annual adventure will go on.

How's your adventure growing?

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