Posts Tagged ‘violets’

forgetmenotsBoth the sight and scent of flowers delight.  They’re often present at life’s important occasions:  weddings, funerals, birthdays and anniversaries.  They help cheer people up when they’re sick or sad and help us make celebrations more special.  They also trigger memories, and so, are often dried or pressed between leaves of a book for safe keeping.  Most perfumes are made from concentrated floral scents.  The slightest whiff of a familiar perfume can awaken a sleeping mountain of memories.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

~ William Shakespeare

Floral names for women have always been popular, among them:  Rosa, Daisy, Iris, Violet, Lily, Myrtle, Margarite and Jasmine.  Although most people love trees, they certainly don’t name their daughters Spruce or Maple.  Why do flowers have this special place in our lives? 

Could it be because the olfactory nerve that plays such an important role in our sense of smell is located right next to the part of our brain where memory is stored?  Or is there some more mysterious reason?  After all, shape and color define flowers as much as scent.

lilliesMy dad’s favorite flower was lily of the valley, which happens to be in bloom now in my flower beds. It’s almost impossible for me to look at these delicate white flowers without thinking of him.  These are also my friend Rose’s favorite flowers, so they also trigger thoughts of her too.  Oddly enough, I don’t think of Rose when I look at roses. 

Forget-me-nots are also in bloom.  They remind me of my grandparents who had the words ‘forget-me-not’ engraved in my grandmother’s wedding ring.  The flowers and phrase are now on their shared grave marker.  Queen Anne’s lace, sunflowers, daisies, carnations and gardenias all bring to mind a different person whom I know prefers that one flower over all others, yet  I’ve never thought of asking them why they’ve selected that particular one as their favorite.

wildvioletWith such a variety of blooms to choose from, it’s difficult to pick just one.  Though the scent of lilacs is wonderfully intoxicating, I think I’m pretty settled on wild violets.  I love their purplish blue color and the way they grow unobstrusively in the woods in spring time.   

Do you have a preference or know what your beloved’s favorites are?  

This post was inspired by Gerry’s recent floral posts at Torch Lake Views.

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May is the month when wild violets grow in the woods in Nova Scotia.  Delicate and fragile, they grow so close to the ground that they are easy to miss.  Yet, such down-to-earth flowers are worth a closer look.

Not many plants can reproduce without any assistance whatsoever from insects, the wind or other plants of the same species.  Violets are among the few that can self-pollinate without ever opening their petals.  This means that they can keep reproducing, even if very few of them are present in an area. 

It’s no surprise then that the number of wild violets in my yard has been steadily increasing since I first transplanted a clump from the woods years ago.  Yesterday I picked several blooms for drying purposes.  It’s been such a long time since I’ve had any violet tea and I thought I would try to make some myself. 

In the past, I’ve also candied violets with friends.  Despite the presence of black flies and mosquitos, we set out into the woods together and gathered as many violets as we could find during a sunny morning’s walk.  We spread the violets on a wax paper sheet, brushed them with whipped egg white, drizzled them with fine sugar and then let them dry under a watchful eye at the lowest heat in the oven for a few minutes.  They were so lovely and special.

wild violets

Violet Teas in springtime were a popular activity among close friends during Edwardian times.  Despite all our recent gains in positioning, it seems we women have lost some of our finer manners and gentler practices along the way.   We’ve compromised by drinking coffee and tea out of paper cups with plastic lids on a daily basis, often while juggling a cell phone from behind a wheel.  Something’s amiss.   

In the language of flowers, violets are symbols of modesty, humility and faithfulness.   These are certainly qualities worth emulating, especially in the 21st century.

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds
on the heel that has crushed it.
— Mark Twain

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