As summer reaches its end the garden can suddenly start to lose its colour and need brightening up. Now is the perfect opportunity to replace tired and leggy summer bedding with something new and fresh that will last you through to next year.
One of the most popular and recognisable plants at this time of year is the winter pansy, which we grow on our nursery here at Perrywood.
Pansies are in fact a type of viola. They were developed in the late 19th century when heartsease violas were hybridized with other viola species. To distinguish the two the term ‘pansy’ is used to refer to the large-flowered hybrids whereas ‘viola’ is reserved for the smaller, more delicate annuals and perennials. Through extensive breeding the pansy has one of the widest colour ranges of any garden annual including yellow, gold, orange, purple, blue, violet, red, white, and even near-black (very dark purple). The flowers may be of a single colour or have two or three colours with face-like markings.
Pansies and their smaller relative violas provide months of pleasure in beds, borders and containers. They will survive in any good soil and appreciate plenty of sunshine but will cope with partial shade. Pansies and violas are one of the few annuals that will flower from autumn onwards and prefer cooler temperatures. They will survive frosts easily and even though they may take a break from flowering in severe winter weather, they will rebound in spring with a truly magnificent display of colour and continue right through to early summer with very little maintenance. The trick to a lengthy display is regular watering and deadheading. As soon as flowers fade nip them off with scissors or by hand and new blooms will quickly follow.
Image provided by GAP Photos Ltd.