A Pansy of Pink

The smiling pucker of a pansy is sometimes enough to lift the darkest day. Even bowed down by a shower of raindrops, their little faces are still there, ready to face the sun when it deigns to show itself again. While I love seeing these beauties in pots and in yards in the early part of the season, I’ve never grown or planted them myself. A few years of Johnny-jump-ups were all I could muster.

That distant cousin of the pansy, with the much-smaller blossoms and tenacious reseeding tendency, makes a charming-enough companion in the garden, would pop up in unexpected and not-always-welcome places. They always kept me on my toes, and I was usually too guilty to pick them up and move them somewhere more appropriate of aesthetically-pleasing, choosing instead to let them fill the edges of borders or poke through a cement crack. Their unpredictability was a lesson in accommodation, and I knew it was a lesson I needed to learn.

Now, I admire the pansies and the Johnny-jump-ups from a distance. Our summers are simply too long and hot for them to last much beyond June or July, and when you need something to see you through August and September, these just don’t cut it. This gardener doesn’t have time for that.

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