Friday, March 11, 2011

Help a Pansy Today!

I hope you'll excuse me if I take a moment to ask for your help with a national crisis.

Right now, there are millions of unloved, homeless pansies out there, just looking for a little help. They’re stacked ten deep in sunless racks in front of stores like Safeway and Rite-aid, and wiltingly waiting on tables in garden centers everywhere.  
And for just the price of a cup of coffee, you can help save them. How can you resist their huge black eyes, their sad drooping petals? Their merry colors that seem to smile through all they’ve been through? Won't you open your heart and help them?

This pansy was saved, along with it's cousin, just two days ago at Evergreen Nursery in San Leandro. I made a  difference and you can, too!

Here’s just a few reasons to adopt a pansy companion!

Praise #1
Pansies give more than their worth! For just a couple dollars, you can have a cheerful companion for months! My love affair with pansies began when I was living in apartments in Oregon. Cold, wet, dark days of winter would give way to spring and suddenly every retail outlet would have a rack of pansies out front.  Even at my most poor, I could always spare .99 cents for a pansy that I could set on the table or the windowsill to bring a little bit of cheer in. And at such a price, I couldn’t feel too horrid when I forgot to water it, or move it out of the window during the heat of summer.

Pale Blue "Princess"

Praise #2:
Color! Color! Color!  So many colors! My favorite thing about pansies is the colors! They can be absolutely astounding, giving cheer every single day!   Bi-colors, blotchy spots and  keen stripes! Pink, blue, orange, purple! And oh, what purples! Some such a dark, rich violet as to look like satin, and others such pale lavender so delicate it’s like pressed paper.  It seems like every year a new hybrid appears.  Every year, I find a new favorite. Two years ago, it was a classic purple and yellow “Joker” bi-color, but with huge flowers that practically nodded off their stems. Last year, it was the most delicate pale blue “Princess” pansy that I had to have. This year, it’s these amazing tiger striped fellows- “Whiskers”, they’re called.   


Praise #3:
Tasty!  Pansies are edible! Oh, be careful, of course. If you’re buying from a commercial nursery, ask about organics,  and always wash whatever you eat. But the plants themselves are entirely edible. You don’t have to worry about the kids or the cats or that strange guy down the street who occasionally helps himself to your garden having a taste. They make wonderful fun decorative accents to salads and desserts.  Dress a sweet cucumber and avocado salad with a few bright purple blooms for contrast.

Praise #4:
They can grow just about anywhere!  Garden corners, window boxes, pots, baskets, table tops and window ledges are all viable. Just as long as they get watered and a good bit of sun, they’re typically happy.  I planted my pale blue beauties from last spring in white ceramic pots and they kept their charm right up until November. This year, I opted for planter-pots on the front steps, and one out back by the hot tub, where we spend most of our time.

I’m done feeling guilty about my love for pansies. I admit that I’m a pansy nut and proud of it!  Whether you buy them from the rack in front of the local pharmacy or a huge commercial garden store like Home Depot, give a pansy a home! You won’t be sorry!

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