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A garden staple is having a bit of a makeover

How do you bring Spring cheer into the garden and the home in late February/early March? Pansies could well be your answer. They have had a bit of a make over with modern breeding over the last few years and some have even been bred for cutting.

A close up of a pansy, growing well in the polytunnel
Pansy Nature Mulberry Shades growing nicely in the polytunnel

Now coming in a rather sophisticated range of colours, thanks to the seed companies, you can grow your own little beauties with relative ease. Pansies are easy to grow from seed and growing your own will give you a much wider choice of colour than you can get from the garden centre. A few days in some seed compost and with a bit of warmth (a windowsill in the house will do) will get these little seeds germinating for you. Sow them around 3 seeds to a 9cm pot, or you can sow into a seed tray and prick out.

Pansies and muscari arranged in a mini bowl, using a Kenzan (flower frog)

Pansies are winter hardy and can be started any time from September - March. If sown in Autumn you will have flowers from early February.

Look for varieties specifically bred for cutting if you want to use them for flower arranging. Pansy Antique Nature Shades and Pansy Nature Shades Mulberry mix are best and can be bought from Plants of Distinction. Chiltern seeds have a very pretty pale lilac variety called Endurio, Pink Shades which can get to 20cm tall.

They will will need protection from slugs and snails.

Flowers can be cut as soon as they are opening and are incredibly pretty in tiny bud vases or small bowl arrangements. As they get taller they can be arranged in posies.

So why not give these joyous little blooms a go yourself, or let us know if you already have in the comments, how did it go? Which were your favourites?

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