Pansies are Growing!

As I have mentioned previously this “growing” season, I have planted two pots of pansies this year instead of just one like last year. Pansies are a pretty cool flower in my opinion, what with all the cool varieties and colours available, and I thought I would share some of the facts that turned out to be the reasons why I like them so much and chose to grow more this year than I did last year.

Pansy Blooms
Pansy Blooms from 2012

Let’s jump right in!

Did you know that the pansy is the oldest cultivated flowering plant in the world? The pansy we know today can be traced back to Buckinghamshire, England. They gained popularity in North America in the late 1800’s. This was a new pansy fact for me – something I definitely did not know before I started the research for this post. I never expected that my flower of choice is the oldest garden flower out there. I think that gives it a little bit of prestige as a flower!

A fact about pansies that really appealed to me is that they are easy to grow and care for, and are relatively low maintenance in general once they are established. They may not look it, but they are actually a very hardy plant, preferring cool weather. As they prefer this cool weather, they usually bloom in the early Spring or in the Fall. This was something I discovered on my own last year and was a huge contributor to my choosing to grow them again this year, as well as grow more of them! It was fantastic to have them blooming in the Fall when the rest of my garden was on its way out for the season…

I am unsure if I had mentioned this little tidbit or not as it was the original reason for choosing to grow pansies in my inaugural growing season: pansies are edible! Pansy petals and leaves are edible, with the petals having a minty flavour. They can be (and have been) used to make syrup, flavour syrup, and as a tasty garnish for salads and even cakes. As an added bonus both the leaves and petals are high in vitamins A and C. Tell me that’s not a great reason to keep pansies around! If you are anything like me, more vitamins are always welcome in your diet! I never actually did try out my pansies in any salads last year because I thought they were too pretty.  A reason I planted two pots this year was so I could have one to enjoy and one to serve a more practical purpose. I am looking forward to giving it a shot this year!

Okay, this is the last fact but not nearly the least: because of the vibrant colours they are available in (those gorgeous blues, pinks, purples, yellows, etc.) they were used as dyes at one time. I never thought of a little flower like the pansy as being a flower that could be used in such a thing as dyeing fabric. Neat-o!

How’s that for a summary of pansy awesomeness? This was just a short overview of the cool pansy facts out there. If you are interested in learning more, I am sure you could do so with a simple internet search! I started here at Garden Guides.

The pansies I am growing are of the Show Swiss Giant variety. Over the past few weeks since I shared their first sprouts, they have really done a lot of growing. They are now forming pansy-like leaves and are actually distinguishable from other seedlings. There are up to four leaves on each seedling now, and the late sprouters in my tea mug are fast catching up to the earlier one in my blue pot!

Blue Pot Pansy
Blue Pot Pansy

I am looking forward to moving the pansies outdoors and it may happen soon because it seems the weather is actually finally starting to cooperate. The temperatures are finally feeling Spring-like and the sun is making regular appearances. I want to take advantage of this warming weather and get started on the rest of my planting.

Tea Mug Pansies
Tea Mug Pansies

The balcony itself is on its way to being ready for regular use for the season as well. The furniture is all out of storage including the glass tabletop, and my metal barn star is finally back up on the wall. Hopefully it won’t be blowing off the wall again anytime soon! Even the bird feeder is put up. The last steps are to bring out the pansies, planting, and to bring out the seat cushions (though those won’t be staying outside full-time thanks to the squirrel episode last fall!). It FINALLY feels like Spring. I am getting incredibly impatient to plant and get my flowers outdoors. By this time last year I had everything planted for a month and things were growing well! I guess you could say I have a gardening itch! I am looking forward to sharing my gardening endeavours this season and I also hope to share some more cool stuff about the garden through the season this year. I had a lot of fun with this one and I hope it was enjoyable for you as well.

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