Pansies are the flag bearers of spring. Their cat faces brighten up any corner of the garden. Pansies without the cat faces are violas and both are members of the same family as violets. Pansy colors include white, yellow, blue, purple, burgundy and pink. Often, the pansy is streaked or edged with a contrasting color. Pick up that color with other flowers planted with pansies.
Pansies grow from 8 to 12 inches high. Choose a lower growing flower to edge a row of pansies. Sweet alyssum comes in pure white, light purple and a medium purple. Plant it next to yellow pansies for contrast or purple ones to blend with the pansies. The flowers are tiny but the plants are covered with them. Alyssum is an annual but it self-seeds so prolifically you'll think it's a perennial. Lobelia blooms in vivid blue and a medium blue with small leaves that have a purple hue. It prefers cool weather, likes pansies, so they do well together. Cut both lobelia and alyssum when the blooms start to fade and you'll be rewarded with another flush of flowers.
Pansy flowers are comprised of five large, rounded petals. Two larger ones in the back and three slightly smaller ones in the front. Contrast the rounded shape of the pansies with flowers that grow taller and have many smaller flowers arranged on stalks. Stock is a cool season annual. It has silvery-gray leaves. The plants are about 12 inches high with stems of flowers 15 to 18 inches high. The stems sport from 20 to 50 rosette-shaped flowers with a spicy scent. Colors include white, pink, and purples. Snapdragons like cool weather as well. They grow taller than stock, up to 36 inches high. The flowers are arranged on tall stems in pairs facing opposite directions. Plant a flower bed with pansies in the front followed by stock and backed by the taller snapdragons.
Pansies with spring bulbs are a classic pairing. The pansies will start blooming as the bulbs start sending up green shoots and continue blooming until the bulb flowers have faded. The foliage of the pansies will hide the dying leaves of the shorter spring bulbs. Plant crocus in front of pansies or they'll be hidden. Crocus grow to only 5 or 6 inches high. Crocus bloom in yellow, white and purple. Some varieties are streaked with purple. Plant daffodils behind the pansies. When the leaves start to fade, braid them and they'll look neater. Don't cut them off until the leaves have completely yellowed.