Wild pansies grow from highland to scrubland, and are a tough little family. They are simple, adaptable flowers and grow on windy mountains, arable fields, waste ground and lead-spoil heaps. But their most attractive feature is their sheer variability. It made them a great attraction to gardeners in the past. They found that by mixing and crossing these wild flowers they could turn them into something quite different. Through trial and error the garden pansy was born, and all its variants. Their ancestors are tiny native weeds growing in humble places. Their offspring are now the pride of the showiest garden.