Through the winter months, pansies and violas do the heavy lifting in my flower beds. They give cheerful color to spaces where summer annuals have died, and perennials have gone dormant. They are also showy enough to distract from the layers of oak leaves that continue to fall through early spring.
I put some in pots and others directly into the dirt, since the ground never freezes here. They are cold-hardy plants that tolerate the few nights it reaches sub-freezing temps, so I don’t baby them unless the freeze lasts into mid-day. That’s a rare occurrance.
Most years, they last about six months – November through April, sometimes into May. I certainly get my money’s worth from them, but I do eventually get tired of them. By that time, I’m planting summer annuals, and the perennials have begun to take their turn on stage.
I seem to remember fragrant pansies from my childhood. Like many modern flowers, the scent has been bred out of them. Pity. Stopping to smell the roses/pansies/etc. is half the fun of a garden.
Pansies and violas come in a wide range of colors. Some are patterned with “faces”, while others are not. In other areas, they may be able to stay in the garden almost year-round. It gets too hot for them here in the summertime.
You may think these aren’t suitable for cut flower arrangements to take indoors. The stems aren’t very long, but I have a collection of small vases that are perfect for holding pansies, violas, or even violets. I like keeping fresh flowers on my kitchen window sill, bringing the beauty of creation inside.
It would be hard to choose my favorite flower, but I have to put pansies among the list of favorites.
May the Lord bless and keep you all this week.