cover pic

cover pic

Sunday, April 3, 2016

What Would Spring Be Without Pansies?

How many of you have already planted some pansies or violas in flower beds near your house or pots on your porches?  Maybe you have some in hanging baskets or window boxes.  These are one of my all-time favorite flowers.  When we lived in South Carolina, it was often too hot in the summer for them, but we could grow them through the winter and into the spring.  This weekend we picked up a few packs of a variety of colors, and I spent some time digging in dirt and potting soil for the first time this year.  It felt fantastic.

With a new bag of potting soil, compost from our barn floor, my pink gardening gloves, and a shiny new spade, I was set to plant on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

I was feeling rather grumpy before I started.  Do you ever just have one of those days when you feel so crabby and grouchy, and you don't even know why?  Saturday morning was like that for me.  Maybe it was because it got colder or because I had heaping baskets of laundry to do or because I needed to pay bills, balance the check book, and record monthly expenses.  Yuck.

Regardless of the reason for my bad mood, it was completely gone after mixing soil, digging holes, loosening roots, and getting my hands in the dirt.  The sun was shining down on me, the wind was blowing my hair all over my face, the frogs were peeping near our pool, and all was right with the world.

I didn't even mind when my husband corrected my planting methods and told me where the extras should go.

Planting those few pansies and violas reminded me that I have always had a love for these flowers, and I started searching through my house for pansy items.  Like this throw cover I purchased many years ago from a gift shop that one of my childhood friends owned.

And I rediscovered this doily that my great grandmother made decades ago.

And then I remembered that a lifetime ago, I baked a cake for a friend's birthday and put fresh pansies on and around it because they're a beautiful, natural decoration and are edible too.  I seemed to recall somewhere in the back corners of my brain some interesting facts about this flower, so I did some google searching and jotted down some notes.  I'd like to share them with you.  Maybe this is common knowledge to many of you, but I had forgotten most of this.

 *Pansies are a hybrid from violas.
*Lady Mary Elizabeth Bennet produced them via cross-breeding, and she introduced them to the horticultural world in 1812.
 *Their name is derived from the French word, pensee (meaning thought.)
 *They are winter hardy in zones 4-8, and they can survive light freezes and short snow covers.
 *Margaret Mitchell originally chose Pansy as the name of the heroine in Gone With the Wind.
 *Van Gogh created the beautiful painting of pansies in the work Mand met viooltjes in 1887. 
*They really are edible.
*They are often called the "Trinity Flower" because of their 3 petaled shape and were used like the shamrock to represent the Holy Trinity.  For this reason, they are also associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary and referred to as Our Lady's Delight.  They are often one of many flowers planted in "Mary Gardens."  

I wish all of you a week filled with sunshine, sounds of spring, and a few hours of getting your hands in some dirt.  I'm confident it will cure any grouchy mood.

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