It's hard to believe there is a flower I deprive myself of having but pansies come close. For some reason, I had this impression that I couldn't grow these charming spring flowers in USDA hardiness zone 5b so I tended to pass these up, even on sale.
Until several years ago, when I found a hanging basket full of pansies at the local recycling center. Thinking I could use the hanging basket, I brought the whole container home, watered the soil and left it on my deck planning to remove the spent greenery and replant.
To my surprise, the greenery turned out to be yellow and blue pansies, quickly revived by the water.
I found a semi-shady spot for the hanging basket and enjoyed the blooming pansies through mid-summer, a good 4 months of cheerful color in a corner of my garden. I was hooked.
When most people think of pansies, they often think of the larger, bolder varieties often the first blooming plants found at local nurseries as spring flowers. Although those are eye-catching, I tend to gravitate to the smaller, less hybridized varieties, perhaps influenced by those Victorian flower drawings in some of the flower books my grandmother sent me many decades ago.
Pansies can be grown from seed; they are also easy to transplant from starts. A master gardener friend told me the secret to keeping pansies growing as perennials in our zone was to make sure to keep them watered and they should pull through, even winters.
Although I have tried to do that, I have not successfully pulled pansies through but I haven't given up trying. I have a new spot off my front porch that has good shade that looks promising for pansies. Now I'm on the lookout for blue and yellow ones on sale to add to that spot and see if I can get them to stay.
And if that doesn't work, I can always stop by a friend's house and enjoy a cup of tea in one of her lovely hand-painted ceramic cups!