“Hello spring. Welcome.” Love, Pansy.

But what about the name? How did we get from Viola to pansy?

Glad you asked. The name comes from the French word pensee, which means “a thought.” If you skipped French in school, the first syllable of that word is pronounced like the English word pond but without the d, and the second syllable is pronounced “say.”

Sometime in the 1400s, pensee as the name for the familiar wildflower migrated into English, where it gradually metamorphosed into “pansy.” And that is why, in the language of flowers, pansies mean “I’m thinking of you.” So when your flower garden is overflowing with pansies of  many colors, make up a little nosegay and surprise someone who needs a smile.

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