I love them, too, but 2 things always get to me: one, the fact that they don’t winter over so well, and two, the cost of the seed–yikes! The one year I grew them, I think I did the Imperial Antique hybrid–in a single color, I think–and the Watercolor mix. They were beautiful, and for a year or two they sort of self-sowed, but eventually died out. My son planted the Icicle series of pansies last fall at the hospital where he works, and they came through the winter all right. But the hospital is at least one zone warmer than we are. Have you ever tried the Icicle series? In the January 2002 issue of Fine Gardening, Cynthia M. Rabinowitz states that they were bred for cold climates by a Canadian grower, Fernlea Flowers. According to her, if they are planted in the fall, they are guaranteed to bloom in the spring.
In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.
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