As February draws to a close and the days get shorter, it’s inevitable that autumn starts to show its fingers.
Hot spells will surprise us, then the cooler weather will creep in. Fewer rains will fall on the Highveld and the leaves will turn yellow, orange and red. On the coast and in subtropical regions, autumn is short-lived, giving way to rain and chill.
This is the time to start thinking of your winter garden and what you can plant to cheer empty spaces. It’s a great time of year to plant pansies (Viola x wittrockia), which need a cool season to bring their large and colourful blooms to full beauty.
Pansies don’t seem bothered by icy nights and will flower throughout the winter. They are best planted in full sun under deciduous trees during autumn and winter. They look great en masse in borders, as a colourful edge to beds or fluttering in pots and planters. With their cheery faces and bright colours, they’ll brighten the garden – try vivid colours where little else is blooming, and crisp white varieties to gleam in the moonlight.