This time of year I must have pansies. The winter has been long, spring has been delayed and everything outside is grey. But the cavalry is here! Pansies (or Violas) are starting to show up in garden centres and neighbourhood shops. If you have a window in your house that looks out onto a scene of bare ugliness, waste no time in getting yourself a big flat of pansies. You can pot them up in a planter left over from last year. Make sure the planter is visible from inside so if will cheer you up and remind you that spring is really here, even if the weather says the opposite.
If you’ve got dead greenery going brown, in a planter, take it out! Now! Replace with pansies, whatever colour you prefer. I am partial to the purples and blues. If you don’t have a planter, buy one of the already potted up ones. Put it on your patio table. Feast your eyes.
The great thing about pansies, even if we have a freeze or a snowfall, they will be fine, they are frost tolerant. So there is no excuse not to have some small splash of magnificent green and colour in your life.
Tips to keep your pansies going
1. Don’t let them dry out. A sudden warm day can dry out a pot very quickly. Purchased pots are often shallow, so be careful with this.
2. Cut off dead blooms to keep the plants putting out flowers. Otherwise seed pods will form instead of flowers.
3. A sunny place is best but a pot will take some shade. If you have a shady spot and a sunny spot, buy two pots and rotate them.
4. Red dogwood twigs stuck in the pot will add height and another flash of colour interest to your pansy planter.
5. Pots will bloom happily for you all through April and May and even into June if you are good about cutting off flower heads. Add some organic fertilizer in May to prolong the blooms.
5. Some varieties are highly scented—the orange, blue and yellow ones especially. Cut a few blooms and bring them inside to set in a small vase. Make sure it’s close to your nose. The sweet scent of a viola is truly the freshest flavour of spring.