Pensée, French for a “thought.” It could be a romantic thought and pansies are small, sweet flowers for a meaningful bouquet. Happy Valentine’s Day in advance!
Until recently, I’ve never been much of a fan. I’m more partial to the smaller violas or Johnny Jump-ups, as they are commonly called.
Pansies, violas, wild violets all belong to the plant family Violaceae and the genus viola. They are varying degrees of fragrant and they are edible plants. Just be sure of the source.
Personally, I find pansies and violas to be cheerful, useful garden plants. I especially like the ones sometimes found in nurseries, those in hard-to-find, “designer” colors. But I don’t have a local, specialized nursery nearby and, anyway, I rarely skip the opportunity to look at plants, even those in the large, home improvement centers. That’s how I came to acquire a rather large amount of common pansies. We had a rare freeze in our area and it seems that the folks at the home improvement center didn’t think the pansies would make it. I stumbled upon bedding plants being sold at an outrageously low price and shopped accordingly.
As a result, we have pansies everywhere, not to mention violas. I’m growing fond of them. They don’t exactly cover my winter sticks, but they provide color where it’s severely lacking. It doesn't even matter that they're not an extraordinary shade of apricot. They’ve been tolerating our crazy weather without complaint. In my garden, pansies usually last through mid-summer despite their aversion to heat. It’s for that reason that I sometimes hesitate to plant them. They won’t give up and easily wither away. It makes me think that being called a pansy should be a compliment instead of an insult.
Be tough! Be a pansy!
I plot and I plan. I work under dangerous conditions. I am frequently under assault. At times, I might drop everything and run for cover. I strive to work towards the greater good.
Gardening in southeast Texas can be brutal. Heat, humidity, and potentially disease-carrying mosquitoes are problems for more than half the year and a dangerous combination in summer. That’s to say nothing of fire ants and other biting, stinging insects. Snakes, too, although they only make a rare appearance in my little garden. Poison ivy and oak are common and birds sow both generously.
Despite some uncomfortable conditions, I feel very protective of the wild in my garden. It’s important to know friend from foe, for example, venomous from nonvenomous snakes. Even then, it’s often not necessary to engage.
As for the bugs, it is not fine with us to hurt the good with the bad. Pesticides are banned. So are herbicides. Our beds, whether food or ornamental, are organic. And while our garden isn’t entirely native, we do have plenty of native plants that please the local wildlife as well as ourselves.
While every garden is different, they all offer challenges, pleasures, time with nature. Much like people, they have their good days and bad days, high seasons and low; and they can all be fun and beautiful if you love them enough.