Pansies and violas grow even better when planted late summer, often blooming well into fall, sporadically through winter, and bursting forth in spring.
“Who are the violets now
That strew the lap of the new-come spring?” ~ Shakespeare: Richard II
“Look at us, said the violets blooming at her feet, all last winter we slept in the seeming death but at the right time God awakened us, and here we are to comfort you. “ ~Edward Payson Rod
“I pray, what flowers are these? The pansy this, O, that’s for lover’s thoughts. ” ~George Chapman
The modern day pansies are descendants of the wild viola tricolor also called heartsease. There are many nicknames for this plant that include: love-in-idleness, call-me-to-you, three-faces-under-a-hood, godfathers and godmothers, flower o’luce, banwort, jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me. We have always called the smaller violas johnny-jump-ups.
Violas, violets, and pansies are my absolute all time favorite flowers. Though admittedly, I have many favorites. I often start violas and pansies from seed because I can get more varieties this way, but I also purchase the plants. I prefer the miniature violas to the larger pansies but love both. To my delight many of the smaller varieties self-seed freely. I’m not surprised they have been used in love potions. An old belief is that if the flowers were placed on the closed eyelids of a sleeping person they would fall in love with the first person they saw upon awakening.
“VIOLA ODORATA is an ancient heirloom, which the Greeks used in love potions, and beloved by our grandmothers and their grandmothers because of its sweet perfume, delicate purple to deep bluish purple flower and heart-shaped leaves.” Quote from an interesting looking site that sells heirloom violet seeds called Cherry Gal:
I always thought the flower in the crannied wall referred to in the famous poem by Tennyson was probably a violet.
“Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower -but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.” ~ by Lord Alfred Tennyson
Napoleon Bonaparte loved violets. When he married Josephine, she wore violets and on each anniversary Napolean sent her a violet bouquet. Josephine maintained an extensive garden of violets which became the rage in France. In 1814, Napoleon asked to visit Josephine’s tomb, before being exiled to the Island of St. Helena. There he picked the violets that were found in a locket around his neck after he died. The French thus chose the violet as their emblem, and Napoleon was nicknamed ~Corporal Violet~ or ~Le Pere Violet~ meaning ~the little flower that returns with spring.~
From Footnotes to the Violet:
In modern times, a story has grown up around Napoleon Bonaparte and the violet. While in exile on the island of Elba, he supposedly confided to his friends that he would return to France with the appearance of the violets in the spring. (Such flowers may have had a special significance for the deposed Emperor, since he had once used them as an amorous emblem of his love for Josephine.) His partisans rallied around the symbol of his triumphant return and secretly referred to him as Corporal violet. To determine a loyal supporter, the question was asked of a stranger: –Do you like violets? If the reply to the query was Yes (Oui) or No (Non), it revealed one who did not know of the plot. If the answer was –‘Eh bien,’ the loyalty of the person to the case was affirmed.
From The Sacred Hearth:
Magical Attributes: “Violets are affiliated with the planet Venus OR Pluto and are associated with the nymphs of ancient Greek myth as, in the Odyssey Homer says that Ogygia is “beautiful land of parsley and violets.” Violets are also associated with death and rebirth through the story of Attis.
Also useful in spells for protection, wishes, peace and healing.
In the language of flowers, violets represent faithfulness.”
“They are all in the lily-bed, cuddled close together– Purple, Yellow-cap, and little Baby-blue; How they ever got there you must ask the April weather, The morning and the evening winds, the sunshine and the dew.”
“The garden has always been a mixture of planned plantings and the happy accidents all gardeners enjoy. Today Dove Cottage Garden is a semi-wild garden planted naturally in the spirit of Wordsworth with native and cottage garden plants. Honeysuckles entwine Rosa Rugosa and climb the cottage walls. Ferns and ivy grow among rocks and in the crevices of the terrace wall. Native English primrose (primula vulgaris) root in tree stumps; the old well is surrounded by Osmundine fern and Helleborus orientalis. Native daffodils, bluebells, mosses and other plants referred to by the Wordsworth family in letters and journals….”
“Heart’s ease! one could look for half a day Upon this flower, and shape in fancy out Full twenty different tales of love and sorrow, That gave this gentle name. ” ~Mary Howitt