We are being invaded again!! No, not by extra-terrestrial beings from above. These are
coming from the ground. I must explain that it’s our lawn that’s being invaded, by wild violets. Not everyone is a fan of wild violets. But my husband and I like this cheerful, massive, expanse of color, that every year gets greater.
One of our four sons, (all four grew up in the country) has become a suburban dweller and to walk on his lawn is like stepping on a thick green carpet. It’s pretty, but it’s all one color with nary a weed in sight. That’s not our country lawn, now covered with splashes of blue and white.
I was reading how many people take great steps to eradicate wild violets. I even saw the
word, “Roundup.” By now, you know that we don’t take these steps or there wouldn’t be the over-growth of them we are enjoying at this time. I must confess, though, I do keep them out of my flower beds. Maybe we would find them offensive if our yard was small, but our three acres leaves them plenty of space to roam.
“Violet” is an English girl’s name meaning flower. I’ve only known one person called Violet. It was a very popular name in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century, but it lost its favor in the 1960’s, and dropped completely off the top 1000 chart in the 1980’s and 90’s. But today, you may have a close friend or child named Violet because its popularity in the U. S.has resurged in the last decade, and in 2006, Violet ranked at number 261.
In seventh grade, I had an autograph book that I passed around among my classmates, expecting each to sign their name and add a little ditty or two. Most kids would write: “Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, Sugar Is Sweet, And So Are You.” Well, the nice kids would write this, but the others, they’d become more creative and change the two bottom lines to read:” An Onion Stinks And So Do You,” or this one,” God Made Me Pretty What Happened To You?”
Other people have become poetic about violets. I have some favorites. Dora Goodale wrote:
The modest, lowly violet In leaves of tender green is set; So rich she cannot hide from view, But covers all the bank with blue.
Another saying has been linked to Mark Twain: “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet
sheds on the heel that crushes it.” I love that one! When we are bruised by something someone has said or done, do we respond with a fragrance of forgiveness? While doing yard work I’m tempted to tip toe through the violets, not tulips!! (Remember the song,”Tip Toe Through The Tulips?”) However,it is difficult to miss their tiny, colorful heads while walking through them.
Look in the dictionary and you’ll find that a “shrinking violet” is best described as a shy or retiring person. Again, this is expressed poetically. Someone wrote: “She steals timidly away, Shrinking as violets do in summer’s sun.” Wild violets actually do shrink in the sunshine, and possibly when they are covered with snow.
Eventually we do mow the wild violets. To those who have violet-free lawns, I wonder are
they dandelion-free, too? If not, for a period of time, your yard is splashed with a sun trail of yellow? Well, that’s another subject.
I hope to hear from you. After my last post I heard from someone I had no idea was reading Shirl and You. Such is the case with most of you. I’d love to hear from you, too.
If you’re considering letting wild violets take over your yard, here’s a note that explains why one person did. She wrote: “Groundhogs eat them instead of perennials.”