I found my first wood violet with curled heart shaped leaves, a few days ago. Some call them ‘common’ or ‘wild’ violets, a landscaper informed me once that they were invasive weeds…yet where would we be ~ as gardeners without Violet’s lovely cultivated cousins- the Pansies and Johnny Jump Ups?? I have a huge patch of white wood violets and while I believe that white is probably more rare, the deep purple ones with etched centers are my favorites. A mere snapshot cannot capture its charm.
One of the sweetest ladies I have ever known loved the color purple, my grandmother favored it too. Purple is the color of royalty. A ‘seller of purple’ is mentioned by the name of Lydia in the New Testament. Purple fabric commanded a high price, the dye most likely was extracted from purple flowers ~ knowing that, we dare not place a low value on wood violet, her ancestors may have robed Kings and Queens.
If you take wild violet flowers, brush them with egg whites and dip them in sugar- when left to dry they make the most charming decoration for cakes and petit fours. Forage for them, boil the flowers down with water ~strain and add to a simple syrup, you have the makings of a Spring Tonic which is high in vitamin C.
And there is also this… the sentimental value. The memories of southern ladies I have known who cherished violets. In season, my grandmother kept wild violets in a tiny pale pink McCoy vase beside her, she loved to pick them she said. A bouquet of wood violets will only last a few hours, in water maybe a day. So I must praise the tiny wood violet ~touched by the Hand of God~ On my woodland stroll Ifound a wild violet low to the ground nestled near the roots of a huge tree- she was without ambition to be seen or admired. The lesson of the tiny purple flower is this ~we may tread on its innocent beauty and not a sound of protest will be heard ~ the priceless fragrance of the wood violet would bless the shoe instead.
Everybody needs at least one good friend like Allie Mac. She called today and said, ‘How you holdin’ up?’ The thing is, I’ve been trying to learn how to blog, doing something called ‘wordaday’ – where the Happiness Engineers send you a word then challenge me to write something using that word. Today something new started for real. WordPress Bootcamp. That’s right. Now in addition to the daily word they sent me a new challenge. Allie Mac knew I had been struggling with basic training…I told her ~’Well, so far so good, today they want me to comment‘ …’Comment? Camellia you’ve been commenting your whole life! Sounds right down your alley.’ Well it is, but…commenting and posting a comment is a little different. So, like the good friend she is ~she said the magic words, ‘Perk up Sugar’ …
What? ‘Yes Camellia, what you need is to perk up that house for spring. You’ve let it get so messed up with papers, had those painters in and out… you’re getting up every morning, making up the bed, rolling up that hair, lining up what you’ve got to get done. You haven’t felt up to getting that house dolled up like you always do.’ A good friend perks you up!
Well Allie Mac is right. I needed to perk up the house. I love my neutrals all year round but in the winter, I neutrals it to the hilt. Shades of white, black and gray…can’t get enough of it. Now with spring busting out all over ~ the house had begun to feel a bit drab. Let me tell you what a decorator’s best friend is ~ accessories! The best and cheapest way to perk up a room is with fresh accessories- right? Best of all? I shopped my own stuff, then added a few things. On the lower right is my living room in winter clothes, on the lower left is my den also in winter….both rooms have slipcovered sofas in white duck, both have black floors, sisal rugs and mostly gray accessories. At the top of the page, you can see the change out of fresh green pillows, plants or accessories the rooms have definitely been perked up! Now it’s your turn!
Outside my window the first day of Spring dawned chilly and bright…
The dogwood is getting dressed for Easter, she’s wearing pale green with white eyelet. Out another window, the azaleas have decided to wear pink lace, the bridal wreath spirea has decided to wear white dotted swiss and me? Well I haven’t decided between red or pink…that pink sure is pretty…
This orchid is one of those unexpected gifts. I love orchids and consider them valuable and economical house plants. If you buy one when it is in ‘bud’ the foliage is pretty and the flowers may last a good six weeks as they unfold. Their needs are few considering how much pleasure they bring. But the one thing I have never been able to do is get an orchid to re-bloom, oh I know some who get theirs to re-bloom and to be honest I’ve just told myself ‘you can’t do that’, ‘don’t fight it, just accept it’. ‘Go ahead and buy orchids, enjoy them, enjoy the foliage for a while and discard’. And that’s what I always did, until I needed a filler in my little tabletop greenhouse. So in this spent orchid went.Do you see it there? It had been there a year, a whole year, when this photograph was taken late last summer! And there it stayed, basically a place keeper in the little greenhouse. Well, in January of this year, I was sitting on the sofa beside this table and for some reason I peered inside and it looked like something was going on…what was that?
Can you see it? (Ignore the plastic redbird, that was meant to be edited out!) But look at the stem! Do you see it, the slight swelling on the stem?Okay, I took the weird orchid out, put it in a container and began to water it ~ thinking this could not be, this should not be happening, I have never, ever had an orchid re-bloom! I believed that the stem would wither and probably go the way of all orchids in my care. But not so, by February….I was totally enchanted, the dance of life- the unexpected gifts! The opening photograph of this orchid is proof that occasionally life will surprise you, prove you wrong, delight you in ways you never expected. Have I mentioned I love Spring? When daffodil bulbs push up so bravely, when buds on camellias swell without a quiver against the cold winter air, when peonies emerge in tightly wound burgundy shoots and soft delicate lamb’s ears and the pale iris leaves come around ever so softly, I am reminded of the old gardeners who shared bulbs, cuttings, perennials that needed thinning out ~ most of those gardeners have long since died ~ but because of them, every single Spring, I believe in the Resurrection all over again! Those things which we think have died and we no longer see are under cover, putting down roots, gathering strength, doing work we know nothing about. Oh we may know the botany of it, but we don’t know the delightful mystery. As we begin this Easter Season may we allow Spring to be our beautiful reminder of Life’s Sweetest Gift, the Resurrection of our Savior.