Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The flower that puts a smile on your face

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One of my all time favorite flowers is the Pansy.  I remember as a kid, my grandmother, who had the greenest of thumbs, always had pansies growing along the border of her garden.  Pansies
are one of those flowers that
just make you smile and with
the use of your imagination see
fairies dancing around.

Pansies grow 4 to 8 inches tall and prefers the cool weather.  They grow in either full sun or partial shade and love to live in well drain soil.  Pansies, unfortunately, are short-lived perennial flowers on a single stem root system that may or may not be faintly scented. They make great filler plants, to fill in the empty spaces in your garden; they also make great border, rock garden, and/or container plants.  One of the ways to prolong flowering is to deadhead, and to keep it compact cut back the plants after they have flowered.


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There are about 500 species of pansies/viola that can be grown in zones 4 to 8 with a few that will grow in zone 8-9.  When purchasing either the plant or the seeds, one should check the genus, as pansies consist of species that can be annuals, biennials, evergreen, semi– evergreen, or perennial.

Now for the bad news – pansies are prone to Mosaic virus, can suffer from downy or powdery mildew, they also can have crown and root rot, gray mold, rust and other fungal leaf spots.  Slugs and snails, as well as aphids are a common occurrence around pansies.

One of the newest varieties of pansies out today is called FlirtySkirts Mix.  They are a new European variety that had a 2 inch ruffled bloom, they are said to bud faster than most others and boom with their heads to the sky.  With deadheading they are repeat bloomers and last from spring till a hard frost.
 

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