March is the perfect time for a garden spring clean after the winter, re-invigorating and livening up existing flower beds, borders and containers. Why not do this with pansies and violas – the Horticultural Trades Association’s (HTA) Plant of the Month for March?
Pansies are the perfect spring plants - along with primulas, forget-me-nots and wallflowers and are perfect contenders for patio pots, hanging baskets and window boxes, ideal and easy to plant under the HTA’s It Starts with a Pot campaign.
Pansies and violas are two of the most popular bedding plants and are great for filling the gaps in borders once you have cleared away bedraggled or dead plants. There names are often used interchangeably. Plants considered to be pansies have four petals pointing upwards, and only one pointing down. Violets have three petals pointing up and two pointing down.
Both are hardy annuals that offer colourful flowers in your garden. They both need watering regularly and need to be planted in moist, well-drained soil.
Pansies and violas like sun and cooler temperatures. Make sure you remove fade or dead flowers to prolong blooming and encourage more flowers to grow bringing a joy of spring to a garden following cold winter months.
Pansies and violas are two of the easiest instant colour plants for this time of year and are much loved by broadcaster and gardener, Esther Rantzen CBE, the celebrity champion for the month.
“I love pansies for their soft colours, all the shades of blues, purples and gold’s” she says, “and for their faces, turned down, as if in contemplation, as Ophelia said, ‘There’s pansies, that’s for thoughts’ – and indeed the name comes from the French word, pensee, to think. They look fragile, but in fact they are tough, they can survive anything except the burning summer heat, and they seed themselves and return, year after year. And outside the garden wall their little wild cousins, the violets, send out their fragrance to reassure us that spring is on its way.”
Nominated and agreed upon by British growers and retailers, the HTA’s Plant of the Month campaign highlights the plants that are widely available and looking especially good each month.
For more details, please visit www.the-hta.org.uk/plantofthemonth
Special thanks to Burston Nurseries for supplying the pansies, violas and pot for this shoot.