Sunday, September 14, 2008


A few years ago I planted a couple of violet plants next to the water tank beside the house. As time went by, they multiplied and have covered what was rather a bare little patch in the shade.

That is the thing about violets. Although they are happy to spread out over time, you never see them actually getting out of hand, or growing where they are not wanted ! They are never obtrusive, but they are content to give pleasure to those who seek them out.

We talk about shy violets, and sometimes "shrinking violets", but I prefer to think of them as modest, contented little flowers.

I do believe violets are right there at the top of my list of favourite flowers. My earliest memory of them is a time when I was about five years old. My mother - bless her - had decided that she and I would have a special day together, even though it was a school day. We packed a picnic lunch, and went on a bus. I am not sure where we went , but it was a wooded spot somewhere near Sidcup. In the afternoon, while we were waiting at the bus stop to get the bus home, I saw a little pot of violets in a shop window, and I asked my mother if I could buy them for her. When we got home, we planted them in a little patch of dirt near the French doors at the back of the house. My mother always let me think I had given them to her as a gift. Actually her middle name was Violet, so perhaps I had felt the connection was appropriate.

My second memory is of a time when I was seven - perhaps eight. We had moved to Australia and were living in the Migrant Hostel at Kyeemagh (right where the Sydney Overseas Terminal is now.) It was a fairly small hostel, and the children often did things together. We had decided to put on a concert for our parents in the large meeting room underneath the Manager's flat. The older children, including my sister, got us organised. I decided to sing a song that I had learned at school.

The words began

"Violets in the Hedgerow Peeping(Sleeping?)

Are you very shy?

Yes, we're very shy...."

My mother made me an outfit for my performance in a pretty mauve crepe paper. Crepe paper came in handy for all sorts of things in those days.

I have a feeling that my item was a bit of a disaster. The notes were too high and I forgot the words. I was delighted to re-discover the words in an old children's song book among the music that we inherited from Bernie's Aunt Charlotte, but alas I cannot find that book now!!
This is the centre of a crazy patchwork cushion - one of a pair.

A few years ago I sent for a piece of fabric with violets on it, and have incorporated it into a few little projects, some of which I show you here.
A small heart shaped pincushion

The centre of the other cushion in the pair


Carol said...

Love your violets and your violet stories. Have tried to grow Austrlian native violtes here in the tropices and although in the shade, they died away in the heat and humidity of summer, so I'm enjoying sharing yours.

Anonymous said...

Purple is one of my favorite colours and I love the cushions but perhaps the little pincushion the best.

Anonymous said...

Mary like you I love violets, I love the scent and the delicate flowers. My grandmothers name was Violet so like you they hold a special meaning.

Love your blog and check it each week, keep up the good work.

Karen Mason

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