This planter features rose-blotch pansies, pink hyacinths and blue muscari.

There are a few weeks (or maybe a month) in spring when it’s too cold for annuals, but nice enough for something. Usually, that means pansies —especially up here in Vermont, where we usually have to wait until Memorial Day to feel safe about putting out annuals. However, you can make a container planting that will thrive despite the changeable conditions of spring.

While looking for planters at the garden center, I noticed a beautiful display of forced bulbs—probably late risers that didn’t put on a show in time for Easter. What’s more, they were 50 percent off. I selected some pink hyacinths and a few tiny pots of muscari (grape hyacinths) to mix with a six-pack of rose-colored pansies. The result was instantly satisfying. Next year, I might even plan ahead and force my own bulbs.

Don’t get me wrong, pansies are great. All by itself, a planter of pansies is lovely—especially with the array of colors and forms that are available these days. But, it’s exciting to have more options that look great and perform well during cool spring weather.

I’ve been enjoying this instant container planting so much that I’ve decided to use this urn to display a changing selection of plants throughout the season. When the springtime show has passed its prime, I’m thinking about osteospermums (African daisy)… or maybe argyranthemum (cobbity daisy)?

-David Grist, Online Content Coordinator