Pansy: A Stellar Charmer for Autumn and Spring

16 October 2012


1. Pansies, Nikon DSLR, October 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

2. Pansy, Nikon DSLR, October 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

3. Pansies, Nikon DSLR, October 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

4. Pansies, Nikon DSLR, October 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

5. Pansy, Nikon DSLR, October 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

Let me know which is your favorite.


While many dote over autumn’s exhibition of radiant landscapes—myself included, I am won by a few other visual narratives. One of these is the re-introduction of the pansy, which is a member of the viola family (pansy, violet, viola).

In spring I cultivate and tend them, but they just cannot take our intensely hot summers. So I covet the opportunity to plant these small wonders once again in October.

In the Lens section are some of my favorites from my garden. Each grabs my attention. spreading an individual character and personality.

While pansies flourish in most climates, they do take attention. They require moisture, which is why they thrive in my part of the world in the cooler temps and seasonal rains. Their perky small faces give another luster and patina to colors of autumn.

I am so enamored with these playful lovelies that I just potted some for inside. I am going to try and maintain their spirit throughout the winter months. I’ve managed to cultivate geraniums year-round, and now the challenge for pansies begins.

The petals of geraniums decorate my salads and now the pansy, which is another edible flower, might survive this winter to entice my culinary creativity. Some varieties are teeny tiny and other flowers reach 1″-3.” So I love to gather different sizes and arrange them in groupings. I use diminutive glass vases that grace the kitchen counter and add a flare to my day.

Because these delicately-petaled flowers can be eaten, ingenuity is sparked in the kitchen. They can be candied, used as a garnish, tossed in various fresh vegetables, made into tea, topped on sandwiches, added to hors d’oeuvres, cooked into omelets, used to spike vinegar, arranged on ice cream and cakes, or…

Belgian endive leaves topped with almonds and edible pansies, Google Images

They’re rich in vitamin A and C, and have a mild and at times punchy flavor. While most people avoid the garnish (parsley, case in point), I adore these additions for their palette and subtleties. Petals can be tossed into an appetizer, entrée and dessert. Or the entire flower devoured.

Cupcake with Edible Pansy, Google Images

In season the notorious pansy is everywhere. Personally, while I savor their place as part of my floral edible tapestry and lined in my gardens, I also enjoy holding their soft flower heads and staring at their gentle and self-assured beauty.

A single pansy is a visual concerto, allowing for rhythms of contrast, color, shape, and tone: the delicacy of each petal, luminous colors against the morning sun, and each flower head fulfills a promise of nature’s majesty.

Note: As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog.

This entry was posted in Gardens and Gardening, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Pansy: A Stellar Charmer for Autumn and Spring

  1. These might be the most gorgeous photos I’ve ever seen of pansies!

  2. ehpem says:

    I like them all in their translucent beauty – but I like 1 (the upper left especially) and 3 just a bit more.

  3. WOW, I like. them all. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Judy says:

    They are gorgeous, but the last one with the red Pansy almost knocked me off my chair with its beauty and vibrancy.

  5. Number 5 for me. I like the richness of the red.

  6. Northern Narratives says:

    I love pansies and each photo too. Have you ever dried any of the flowers?

  7. I gazed in wonder, so fascinated by the color and texture effect of the pansies. The seem to be in a very beautiful dance. Stunning and yes, stellar in every way!

  8. marialla says:


  9. These are stunning photographs!! Each one is indeed its own unique vision. Absolutely gorgeous. I never knew pansies could be useful for food!! Learn something new everyday. Great post and words about the pansies.

  10. Lovely macro images of the pansy. I have never planted any for the winter but it is used quite a lot as a winter landscaping plant in my area. The pansy is eye catching when planted in masses.

  11. Gracie says:

    Nice shots, Sally! I never knew pansies are edible!

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