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  • There are some hardy varieties of pansy – I see them at the garden centers right about now. Kale & ornamental cabbages are also good hardy plants. One of the specialty garden centers, like American Plant, will have a good idea of what works well. People at Lowes & Home Depot will have no idea.

  • I grow a few perennial herbs in my front yard . . . they don’t necessarily look great in the winter months, but they don’t die . . . they just take a long winter nap. So if your goal is to simply not have to replant new plants in the spring, you can try different varieties of thyme, chives, tarragon, lavender, rosemary, mint, sage, oregano, marjoram, savory. I planted all of these more than three years ago and am able to harvest fresh herbs for cooking and other uses from about April through November for some of them (e.g., mint, tarragon) and year round for others (e.g., rosemary) . . . and sort-of in between for others still (e.g., thyme, which doesn’t lose its leaves at first frost, but it does stop producing new growth at first frost).

    By contrast, if you’re looking for something that’s really pretty year-round, other than rosemary, which is an evergreen, I don’t have any suggestions. Best of luck!

  • Emmaleigh504

    I have herbs like thyme and rosemary. I also have 2 kinds of lavender, one does better than the other, but I don’t remember what it’s called. I have tons of violets (native and fancy English varieties). And I have 2 types succulents, but I have no idea what they are called. I supplement with cosmos. I throw some seeds in the window boxes every spring and they flower all summer. I have them spaced out so the ever green plans (rosemary, lavender, thyme) are visible when everything else dies back in winter. Oh and orange mint and catnip are in there too. The cosmos are the only things I have to replant, but they are worth it.

  • I agree with suggestions to have herbs growing year round. If you grow lavendar, choose a variety that doesn’t get too big. Thyme, oregano and tarragon are herbs that typically overwinter in this area.
    And then interplant with annuals. Pansies and violas are great for fall color and will come back in the spring – they are cold hardy in this climate so you don’t need to buy any special variety. They’ll often re-seed as well I usually plant petunias, snapdragons and verbena in my flowerboxes with some sweet potato vine or other ornamental for color.

  • Do pansies need bright light? (I was thinking about putting a windowbox in a shaded area.)

    • Pansies/violas do well with some sunlight – I’ve grown them successfully in part sun/part shade.

    • Emmaleigh504

      My building has pansies in an area with mostly shade and they do fine year round. My violets are in partial sun which is slightly too much sun for them, so I have to add things to block the sun so they don’t die, they would prefer mostly shade. Cosmos on the other hand, like full sun to mostly shade, dry to wet soil, they seem to work anywhere.

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