I have been seduced...by a pair of blue pansies and a fragrant, lavendar and yellow viola.
For years I have been staunchly anti-annual. "What a waste of time and money!" "Why plant something that you know is going to die soon...when you can spend a little bit more and have a plant that comes back year after year after year?" "Why would I want to plant something that I know I'm just going to have to plant again next year?"
About a week ago, though, on a rather cold and windy day, I stopped off at one of our local garden centers. There, in the greenhouse, were beautiful big baskets of gorgeous blue and white pansies, some with ruffled edges and others without. I just had to have a few to brighten the gloomy day.
Of course, in my normal way of over-doing it, I didn't buy just one of each. Oh, no. I bought 2 sixpacks of each. The next day I found a single, one gallon pot of Starry Night viola on a table at Lowe's. I could smell the fragrance from several feet away. That pot joined the pansies on the breezeway.
Finally today I started planting them. I'm trying to tuck them here and there, "naturally", among my prairie perennials and assorted hardy garden plants. They actually are making a very pretty combination with what's left of my daffodil blossoms! The Starry Night viola is going to grace the little table by my wicker rockers out front. That way I can have the fragrance "up close and personal" (as long as I can keep the container plant alive!).
To justify my fall from "perennials-only" principle, I've actually decided that, as far as annuals go, violas and pansies aren't bad. Violas/pansies/violets are larval plants for many of the fritillary butterflies. I have the little (native) johnny-jump-ups, Viola bicolor, all over the place anyway. Why not include some of their bigger cousins in my flowerbeds? After all, their rich blue faces make me smile.