As we get closer and closer to opening CityWalk, more and more tasks become our responsibility, not that of the architect or construction manager. Last week I had to pick flowers for the massed beds on the corner of San Jacinto and Akard in the parking lot for CityWalk.
I had to think about it for a moment. Even down here in Texas, there aren’t a lot of flowers that will hold up reliably through the winter weather. Chrysanthemums are lovely, but they’re a fall flower and, if planted now, might last no longer than the end of the year—at which point we’d still have to replant for the rest of the winter.
Another popular choice is flowering kale. It’s reliably hardy and adds significant color to a garden, but for reasons I don’t quite know, it’s never especially appealed to me:
Maybe it just seems too much like growing cabbage in your flower garden.
Cyclamen are lovely, but planting enough of them to make a show is awfully expensive.
Dianthus are also awfully nice, but they’re a perennial and these are beds we want to change out seasonally so that we can have color all year long.
Violas are very nice.
But in the end I decided to go with the most popular of all winter flowers here in North Texas, pansies. Pansies are relatively cheap and, in spite of the name, tough flowers that can survive the cold and hold up well until it’s time to replace them with spring flowers.
Old-fashioned pansies with their cute faces are a pleasant flower.
I think they don’t show well as a massed bed, however. When seen from a distance (like from a car driving down Akard or San Jacinto) the colors seem muddled and they don’t make the statement that I want.
New pansy varieties are available that are one pure color, and I think they work much more effectively in large beds. You can find them in purple, lavender, orange and other colors, but I knew immediately that for winter I wanted yellow. When the days get damp and the light gets low, then I think a yellow flower is very cheerful. It reminds you of summer days and sunflowers. It’s a promise that summer will come again. So I chose yellow pansies.
The variety is Crowned Gold and if the landscaper wants to keep our business, then he or she better hope it’s in stock, because my mind is set on these beautiful flowers.