Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Pansy Trials

Working at a nursery, Wing Nut gets to have all manner of adventures. Sometimes it's scooping up red wigglers out of the worm bin. Once in a while, thankfully not more often, it's getting flattened to the ground by a runaway cart full of gallon pots of lavender. On occasion it's catching small frogs hopping among the plants. Once it was helping relocate a killdeer that had decided the nursery driveway was a good place for its nest. Now and again it's getting the opportunity to express her creativity by designing flower displays, planting up a very expensive antique pot that a customer brought in, or helping with the junior gardeners' newsletter. And then sometimes it's getting a weird skin rash on her arm THAT THE DOCTOR THINKS MIGHT BE LYME DISEASE!!!

Why oh why couldn't she just be happy at her old job, sitting at a desk in a posh purple ergonomic chair and enjoying the medical insurance that would have covered her if for some twilight-zone-like reason she had contracted LYME DISEASE??? Actually the worst thing that ever happened to her on THAT job was when she gave herself quite a shiner after picking up the phone receiver and clocking herself in the eye with it. Sometimes I worry about that girl!

But I digress. Last week she and two of the other flower shed girls embarked on yet another adventure. They took a road trip to Henry's Plant Farm in Mill Creek, WA. Once a year, Henry's has an open house and invites their nursery & garden center clients to come visit and check out their pansy trials.

--Hey! It was my road trip and my pictures, so why are YOU telling this story?

--Because you hadn't gotten around to telling it and I wanted to post the pics of the flowers you brought home.

--Okay, okay, but let me add some thoughts too! And did you have to tell everyone about the phone-to-the-eye incident??

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After a lovely picnic lunch under blue skies and warm sun, we toured some of the greenhouses at Henry's. One huge greenhouse was dedicated to the pansy trials -- a show of new selections and upcoming varieties. We saw rows upon rows of beautiful and colorful pansies, violas, and panolas.  We learned that a panola is a cross between a pansy and a viola, with the best features of each plant. The panolas have a face that is smaller than a traditional pansy, but larger than a viola.  The sales rep told us that panolas sell really well in our area because their faces hold up better during our wet, rainy winters, whereas the large faced pansies droop under heavy rain.

Then we chose 3 flats of special beauties and took them back to the nursery. It was really hard to limit ourselves to only 3 favorites since there were so many amazing and beautiful colors.  Perhaps we should have taken K's van instead of A's new car -- we could have gotten more! ;-)

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Of course I had to buy two of the varieties we brought back!

Pansy 'Fizzy Lemonberry'

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Viola 'Mickey'

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Not only are Fizzy Lemonberry and Mickey beautiful, but they are gloriously fragrant too!  Sigh...

--Curmudgeon & Wing Nut

14 comments:

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Sounds like a great trip. Love seeing a nursery full of pansies and violas.

easygardener said...

I love violas and pansies. There are some beautiful colour combinations. I also think they are flowers that should be looked at up close.

Karen said...

Yikes on the Lyme disease, I hope it's not that!!!!! Scary. Love love love the pansies, I'm going to need to get that Fizzy Lemonberry next spring, or whenever it becomes generally available. I have a lot of Ultima Morpho naturalizing and have enjoyed frilly Can Can too. Fun field trip!

Philip Bewley said...

Lyme disease! I hope not!
panolas...and flats of them! how fun is that!
Fragrant too? ok I am sold!
Best,
Philip

Annie in Austin said...

What lovely faces you chose to bring home, WWWenches, and like Phillip, I find the fragrance part very appealing.

In a few months it should be pansy-planting time in Austin. Like humans, they find it easier to be outside in Austin in the cool months.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

HappyMouffetard said...

Beautiful pansies and violas - I have a real soft spot for them. I think it's from when you're a child and you're attracted to things that seem like faces. You can read characters into flowers with faces.

Fingers crossed it's not Lyme Disease.

our friend Ben said...

We love violas, too, and ahhhh, fragrant ones, oh my! Now, thanks to you all, we'll keep an eye open for the pansy-viola crosses. Er. True confessions time, just so Wing Nut doesn't feel too humiliated by the receiver-in-the-eye incident: This is hard for me to believe even now, even though I did see it with my own eyes, but I actually saw a certain person, who shall remain nameless, pick up a large cluster of quartz crystals from the bedroom dresser, apparently thinking it was his reading glasses (?!!! and to think, he was perfectly sober at the time!!!), and smack himself in the eye with it. Wing Nut, you have nothing to be ashamed of! As for Lyme disease, yikes. Let's hope that's a misdiagnosis!--Silence

Shady Gardener said...

I did not know these flowers were fragrant. Well! That adds a new dimension, doesn't it?

I'm sure you had a wonderful time!!! :-)

Viooltje said...

What a great post, if you leave out the Lyme disease. Hopefully the doc is wrong. Wing Nut should know better than to challenge Curmudgeon's gossipy habits. Loved another tour with the Wenches, if you could only upload some of that divine scent as well!

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

Good news -- No Lyme Disease!! Apparently I had some sort of insect bite (spider perhaps) and a reaction to it.

Quartz crystals instead of eye glasses? Oh dear! I hate it when things like that happen.

Thanks everyone,
Wing Nut

our friend Ben said...

Hooray for you, Wing Nut!!! Bad as spider bites are, compared to Lyme disease, they're almost a picnic (unless, of course, it's a brown recluse or some other horror that's doing the biting). As for the infamous crystal incident, I keep telling myself that the blinder he is, the better I look!---Silence

garden girl said...

So glad it wasn't Lyme, and hope your arm is healing well Wing Nut.

I can relate to the painful mishaps, working in a nursery myself, and having an undeserved ;~O reputation as a klutz. There are so many tripping and other hazards in a nursery.

Whoever said gardening was a safe pastime never met me. Throughout my life most of my worst injuries have happened while gardening.

The pansies and violas are gorgeous. Love their friendly faces and cheerful colors.

themanicgardener said...

Glad you don't have Lyme disease, Wing Nut, and loved the story about clocking yourself with a telephone. You may be the first person to leave a desk job because it was physically hazardous. Though what you do when you get a hoe in your hands is terrible to imagine.

I love pansies, always have, and these are beauties.
--Kate

Kerri said...

I'm taking a stroll back through your posts...and having lots of fun :)
Oooh, beautiful pansies...and fragrant? Oh my! Love those pictures!
Wingnut, I hope that wasn't Lyme disease! Be very careful of those telephone receivers! (chuckle, chuckle).