When ordering potted bulbs for the Easter garden, don’t forget the versatile pansies, violas and johnny-jump-ups. A favorite with everyone, the little pots look charming surrounding a font as a children’s Easter garden. After Easter Sunday is over, the little plants can go right into the church garden, window boxes, or linger awhile on ledges. The Sunday School children may enjoy planting the little plants in the garden as a project. They also make perfect small plants for hospital-bound shut-ins in the parish or cheery house call companions for the rector. Add a small bow, pop a plant in a little basket- and it is ready to go visiting. Include an Easter Sunday bulletin too.
Pansies and their cousins mix well with traditional bulb plants such as lilies, tulips, grape hyacinths, hyacinths, and crocus in the Maundy Thursday garden, or around the base of a Paschal candle for the Great Vigil and Easter Sunday. If you plan to make a garden around the Paschal candle, be sure to leave a path in back so the new candle can be easily reached for placement in the socket. A good rule of thumb is to check the Easter decorations down the center and return aisles and on the chancel well in advance of the Vigil to make sure nothing impedes the way of the choir and procession. With heating still on in most churches on April 4th, also avoid placing pots and flowers near heat registers, in full sun, or radiators. A charming treatment for deep windowsills along the nave are low baskets filled with colorful pansies or johnny-jump-ups. Who can resist the little “faces” and the variety of deep blues, purples, maroons, bright yellows, orange, pink, violet and creamy white? These flowers love it cool and like to be damp. They are hearty and will take a lot of neglect. Best planted soon after Easter to keep blooming well into summer if dead-headed and “pinched back” faithfully- another great job for the Sunday School!