Pick one of these gorgeous fall days to clean up your annual flower bed. Pull the old plants out and add organic matter to the soil. (Find more tips about this in the K-State Horticulture Newsletter.) You also may want to consider planting pansies and/or violas now. This is a great choice for many reasons - first, you get some color now and later, as most pansies overwinter well in this area. Secondly, the beautiful blooms in the spring will keep you from wanting to plant heat-tolerant annuals in that spot too early next year. The pansies will be their most spectacular in May and you won't want to pull them out! Which is good news, because some of the best annual flowers (Vinca, Celosia, Lantana) shouldn't be planted until the soil temperature warms up. Late May will be the perfect time to put these plants in the ground so their roots aren't compromised by cool, wet soil. Your chances of having success with some heat-loving flowers are greatly increased by your patience!
So pat yourself on the back for being such a savvy gardener. And enjoy the winter break and the smiley faces of pansies in your garden.