“Hello spring. Welcome.” Love, Pansy.

Today’s pansies are all descended from a wildflower that is native to western Asia and Europe, where it was called hearts-ease.

And where, despite that lovely name, it was considered a weed.

Then, in a pattern we find often in horticultural history, early in the nineteenth century several amateur botanists became enthralled with this dainty wildflower and began cultivating it and experimenting with hybrids. It wasn’t long before professional nurserymen began developing new varieties for market, focusing on trying to create bigger flowers and a wider variety of colors. That pattern continues to this day; new cultivars are introduced every year, to the delight of gardeners everywhere. Even in Europe, where they now apologize for having called it a weed.

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