Pansies persist through Colorado’s whiplash weather, colorful faces shining through the snow

<img width="150" alt="Randy Ortega of Nick's Garden Center “>

As A Wandering Botanist, Kathy Keeler has traveling the globe searching for exotic plants and their stories. From Tierra del Fuego in Argentina to the Atacama Desert in Chile, she’s seen plants living in extreme environments.

But it was a clump of pansies she spotted on a walk through her neighborhood that most recently captured her imagination. There was nothing special about the flowers growing near a street corner in northwest Loveland, except they were in flower from November through February.

“I made an effort to go back to see them over the months,” she explains. “I didn’t expect anything to flower in December or January.”

Keeler says she’s always been attracted to pansies because they’re bright, multi-colored and easy to grow. “Plus, they smile at you.”

The winter-blooming pansies that caught her eye are in a gravel bed, nearly under a tree. No doubt the sun warming the rocks helped provide a comfy microclimate.

The plants survived being buried in snow and consecutive days of freezing temperatures. But it took only a few days of warmer weather for the leaves to look lively and then a few more days for plants to start flowering again.

Because these pansies have small faces, they are most likely Viola hiemalis (winter flowering or ice pansies). This low-growing species probably originated in the mountains of Eurasia to be so adapted to the cold. Plants are able to bloom in chilly soil and temperatures to 6 degrees.

“These guys are hardy and quick to come back into flower. They don’t have huge flowers, but they look like pansies,” Keeler says.

The more familiar garden pansies are Viola wittrockiana. These pansies are also fall-planted and can overwinter to bloom again in spring.

“The ordinary pansies started as Johnny Jump-Ups, but they’ve been hybridized over the last 200 years to get them big and colorful,” she says. Johnny Jump-Ups are the self-seeding biennial plants with small purple and yellow flowers.

Pansies that show up at garden centers in spring provide a much-needed service for gardeners and their gardens. Not only do they add color to empty flower beds and containers, but they provide an early food source for any insects that are out and about.

The pansies available for spring planting have a wide range of colors and markings that make them perfect for planting in attractive masses along borders.

Pansies will grow well in full sun, although they may continue to bloom into summer if planted where they can get some shade. To keep flowers smiling, clip them frequently and deadhead faded blooms.

Keeler says the corner patch of pansies was still going strong when she stopped watching them in February. That’s when the crocuses and snowdrops started popping up, and the winter-flowering pansies lost their blooming appeal.

Joe Amon, The Denver Post

Randy Ortega of Nick’s Garden Center in Aurora gets numbers for an order of Matrix Light Blue pansies at Hardy Boy Plants/Welby Gardens in Denver on March 16, 2017.

Joe Amon, The Denver Post

Penny Peach Jump Up Violas at Hardy Boy Plants/Welby Gardens in …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle

As A Wandering Botanist, Kathy Keeler has traveling the globe searching for exotic plants and their stories. From Tierra del Fuego in Argentina to the Atacama Desert in Chile, she’s seen plants living in extreme environments.

But it was a clump of pansies she spotted on a walk through her neighborhood that most recently captured her imagination. There was nothing special about the flowers growing near a street corner in northwest Loveland, except they were in flower from November through February.

“I made an effort to go back to see them over the months,” she explains. “I didn’t expect anything to flower in December or January.”

Keeler says she’s always been attracted to pansies because they’re bright, multi-colored and easy to grow. “Plus, they smile at you.”

The winter-blooming pansies that caught her eye are in a gravel bed, nearly under a tree. No doubt the sun warming the rocks helped provide a comfy microclimate.

The plants survived being buried in snow and consecutive days of freezing temperatures. But it took only a few days of warmer weather for the leaves to look lively and then a few more days for plants to start flowering again.

Because these pansies have small faces, they are most likely Viola hiemalis (winter flowering or ice pansies). This low-growing species probably originated in the mountains of Eurasia to be so adapted to the cold. Plants are able to bloom in chilly soil and temperatures to 6 degrees.

“These guys are hardy and quick to come back into flower. They don’t have huge flowers, but they look like pansies,” Keeler says.

The more familiar garden pansies are Viola wittrockiana. These pansies are also fall-planted and can overwinter to bloom again in spring.

“The ordinary pansies started as Johnny Jump-Ups, but they’ve been hybridized over the last 200 years to get them big and colorful,” she says. Johnny Jump-Ups are the self-seeding biennial plants with small purple and yellow flowers.

Pansies that show up at garden centers in spring provide a much-needed service for gardeners and their gardens. Not only do they add color to empty flower beds and containers, but they provide an early food source for any insects that are out and about.

The pansies available for spring planting have a wide range of colors and markings that make them perfect for planting in attractive masses along borders.

Pansies will grow well in full sun, although they may continue to bloom into summer if planted where

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