Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pansies in the Downtown...Spring can't be too far away...




Tresser and Greyrock pansies


Some pansy history (wikapedia style):
Historical background--
In the early years of the 19th century, Lady Mary Elizabeth Bennet (1785–1861), daughter of the Lord of Tankerville, collected and cultivated every sort of Viola tricolor (commonly, heartsease) she could procure in her father's garden at Walton-upon-Thames, Surrey. Under the supervision of her gardener, William Richardson, a large variety of plants was produced via cross-breeding. In 1812, she introduced her pansies to the horticultural world, and, in 1813, Mr. Lee, a well-known florist and nurseryman, further cultivated the flower. Other nurserymen followed Lee's example, and the pansy became a favorite among the public.
About the same time that Lady Bennett was busy cultivating heartsease, James, Lord Gambier was doing the same in his garden at Iver under the advice and guidance of his gardener Thomson. A yellow viola, Viola lutea, and a wide-petalled pale yellow species of Russian origin, Viola altaica were among the crosses that laid the foundation for the new hybrids classed as Viola x Wittrockiana. A round flower of overlapping petals was the aim of early trials; in the late 1830s a chance sport that no longer had narrow nectar guides of dark color on the petals but a broad dark blotch on the petals (which came to be called the "face"), was found. It was developed in Gambier's garden and released to the public in 1839 with the name "Medora".
By 1833, there were 400 named pansies available to gardeners who once considered its progenitor, heartsease, a weed. Specific guidelines were formulated for Show Pansies but amateur gardeners preferred the less demanding Fancy Pansies. About this time, James Grieve developed the viola and Dr. Charles Stuart developed the violetta, both smaller, more compact plants than the pansy.

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