Pansy in Black

Tom Newman

Frankston, Australia

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Artist's Description

Pansy from my garden in Frankston Australia.Panasonic FZ20

The Pansy is a large group of hybrid plants cultivated as garden flowers. Pansies are derived from Viola species Viola tricolor hybridized with other viola species, these hybrids are referred to as Viola wittrockiana or less commonly Viola tricolor hortensis. The name “pansy” also appears as part of the common name for other Viola species that are wildflowers in Europe. Some unrelated species, such as the Pansy Monkeyflower, also have “pansy” in their name.

The pansy flower is two to three inches in diameter and has two slightly overlapping upper petals, two side petals, and a single bottom petal with a slight beard emanating from the flower’s center. The flower has been produced in a wide range of colors and bicolors. The plant may grow to nine inches in height, and prefers sun to varying degrees and well-draining soils. Pansies are biennials, but are purchased at garden centers in their second year of growth and treated as annuals by the home gardener. They are subjected to devastation by aphids, snails, and slugs, and several diseases, mostly fungal. They do not perform well in hot, muggy weather or climes.

Lady Mary Elizabeth Bennett brought the pansy to the attention of gardeners in the early years of the 19th century after cultivating every sort of V. tricolor she could procure in her father’s garden at Walton-upon-Thames. V. tricolor has known many names in the English-speaking world including heartsease, love in idleness, and flower of Jove, but the name pansy is derived from the French, pensée (thought), and was bestowed upon the plant for its resemblance to a pensive human face. The pansy has attracted the attention of poets and artists including William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, Pierre-Joseph Redouté, and Georgia O’Keeffe. The flower is a recurring motif in cultural artifacts such as embroidery designs and greeting cards.

Artwork Comments

  • tigerlady96
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  • Tom Newman
  • Debbie Robbins
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