“The plants closest to you are those from your childhood; those are the ones you truly love.”
~V. S. Naipaul
Drip, DriP, DRIP….can you hear it. The snow has begun to melt as temps are soaring into the 40s here. Low 40s are normal for this time of year so I am ecstatic. It looks like my Snow Go poem is working. We have lost over two feet of the four feet of snow already. This week it is supposed to cool off to just about freezing for the start of spring, but I am sure that will not last (wishful thinking perhaps).
This is my last annual flower tale for this winter, and I am saving my favorite annual, pansies, for last (actually hardy annual in my garden). Pansies are actually considered a perennial, but sometimes grow more like biennials or annuals depending on your climate.
With this month’s flower tale, I am linking in for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (GBBD) hosted by Carol@May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of each month. I hope to return to showcasing garden flowers blooming this time next month for GBBD.
What is commonly regarded as the garden pansy refers to a large-flowered hybrid plant cultivated from several species including the Viola tricolor (Johnny Jump Up), a wildflower of Europe and western Asia, (known as heartsease) that was introduced into North America.
Many times you will see pansies listed as Viola x wittrockiana from the Violet family (Violaceae). And it is not uncommon to hear people use the terms pansy and viola interchangeably. But the pansy has larger multi-colored flowers, while the viola has smaller flowers.
There are now a wide range of pansy flower colors including black. The typical pansy flowers are single with five rounded petals. Blooms can be a single color, a single color with black lines radiating from the center or have the dark center also known as a “face”.
I love watching pansies grow with my early spring bulbs. I try to grow pansies every year from seed. They grow best in full to partial sun in well-draining soil. Regular watering, fertilizing and deadheading can help increase bloom production.
And because pansies don’t like it too hot, they are best planted in spring in the North and winter in the South. You can direct sow them in the ground. But I start mine indoors in late January so I can plant them out in early April. They can take up to 12 weeks to grow large enough to flower.
The pansy can grow to 9 inches in height. The green, notched leaves are oval-shaped.
Pansies are hardy from zones 4–8. They can survive some freezing and snow cover, but do best if mulched in areas with lots of snow.
Pansies are usually free from pests but can be susceptible to mildew, aphids and slugs.
Folklore and Tales
Pansies are symbolic of the Trinity because the flowers often have three colors.
Violas, which the pansy is descended from, were cultivated by the Greeks for herbal medicines.
Young American settlers were said to make dolls from pansies. The flowers were used as the face of a doll, with the leaves as skirts and twigs as arms. They were called pansy dolls.
The pansy is the flower of Osaka, Japan.
In the early 19th century, Lady Mary Elizabeth Bennet collected and cultivated every sort of Viola tricolor with the help of her gardener, William Richardson. She introduced her pansies to the horticultural world in 1812. The flowers were further cultivated in 1813 by Mr. Lee, a well-known florist and nurseryman.
By 1833, there were 400 different pansies available to gardeners.
A syrup can be made out of the flowers, and the flowers can be used to flavor honey and salads.
The flowers can also be used as a dye.
Language of Flowers
In the language of flowers, a pansy given to a beloved means “I am thinking of our forbidden love”. It also refers to someone thinking about you and loyalty.
Do you grow pansies? If you do, have you ever eaten them or any other “edible” flower?
In A Vase On Monday
Even with the temps now reaching the 30s and 40s, it is still impossible to forage in the garden. Thankfully I have a few more indoor bulbs blooming to make a vase. Here is Hippeastrum ‘Minerva’ again. It gave me another bloom, and just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. So I decided to get down my Irish Teapot from where I keep it on display. It is Wade Porcelain made in Ireland, more specifically Northern Ireland. My mom had it, but never used it, and she gave it to me with a matching vase. I am not sure where she acquired the pieces.
I first staged it with a silk scarf I bought when I was in Ireland in 2008. I love how it brought out the colors and created a great contrast.
But as it began to open more, I placed it in my living room again. I added the dark green leaves from my Peace lily or Spathiphyllum that were from another vase. And even though the boxwood greenery has dried, it still is green and perfect to use as a filler. Once the flowers opened more, the vase really glowed here.
I am joining in with a few memes this week as I prepare this vase: Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles and Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.
Next up on the blog:
Next Monday, it will be time for another Seasonal Celebrations wrap up post. I hope you will join in.
I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her new blog just for Nature Notes. It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday.
I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.
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