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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Container gardening in Ireland, including Annual Bedding Plants

The Universal Pansy ---- Pansies for Beds and Containers.

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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
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Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 7:00 pm    Post subject: The Universal Pansy ---- Pansies for Beds and Containers. Reply with quote

The Universal Pansy ---- Pansies for Beds and Containers.

Since the first use of the word "pansy" in Elizabethan times, it has always indicated an effeminate male or weakling.
I suppose if I had never cultivated my interest in horticulture, the word pansy would have soft connotations for me also.
To the gardener, a pansy is a tough sub-zero temperature survivalist. Pansy plants survive and produce blooms in the cold of winter, I suppose you could say it is a pansy by name but not by nature.

Universal Pansies, for these are the ones we most often plant for winter colour, are also know by their Latin name Viola.
If not in flower when you buy them, it will only take a few short settling in days before their five petalled flowers explode with colour.
The various pansy flowers cover a colour spectrum spanning around nineteen colours, plus any number of bicolour and blotchy combinations.
Personally, I quite enjoy the interesting "faces" the pansy displays when lemon yellow petals are daubed with black blotches.
The flowers resemblance to a face is the reason for the name pansy, with "pensee" being the French word meaning thought.
Funnily, the flower even nods forward as if in deep thought.

Not only do pansies come in a wide range of bright colours, they will bloom in the garden up to for up six months during autumn, winter and spring.
Few other plants, not to mention annuals can make that claim.
Blooming throughout the winter, universal pansy flowers halt only for frosts and snowfalls.
The plants flower buds lie in wait through these very cold spells only to bloom again with the first trace of warmer weather.
I have found that they tend to endure winter weather much more successfully if planted three or four weeks before the first harsh frosts, a bit of a settling in and snuggling up period, if you like.

Growing to around 8 inches (20cm) in height, Universal Pansies are ideal successors to the by now ragged looking summer bedding.
So, get into your flowerbeds and as we say in the West, "horse out" all the spent Busy Lizzies, Marigolds and Petunias in favour of pansies at 9-inch spacings.
They will thrive best in full sun, but will also grow under partial shade with slightly reduced flowering.
An adapter, it is able to cope well with most ordinary soils, although performance is even better if you put some time and care into selecting and preparing the growing area.
Choose a free draining location and work some organic matter such as homemade compost, peat moss or another commercial soil enricher into about the top 4 to 6 inches of soil.
Aside from planting in beds and borders, the pansy is also ideal to liven up sorry looking window boxes and hanging baskets.
Team pansies with their partners in winter colour the cyclamen and heather. Just remember to use fresh planting compost, not the leftovers from your summer bedding.

If you are looking to grow some pansies you should be able to pick some up here..... Pansies

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Violales
Family: Violaceae
Genus: Viola

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