about this blog

This blog tracks the ongoing changes of my garden, and the wildlife I try to attract to it. It's a nature blog. It contains my thoughts and musings about anything and everything to do with nature - gardening, book reviews, philosophy, travel, science, history, art, design, politics.
Catmint is my signature plant because it has all the qualities I value in a plant: resilience, beauty and the capacity to spread prolifically . Unfortunately it's not indigenous. If I was starting again I'd probably choose an indigenous plant.

Friday, 8 April 2011

johnny jumps up in my garden

The botanical name of this plant is Viola tricolor. This wildflower has naturalized in my garden, and just looking at it makes me feel happy. I notice its absence in autumn and winter and miss its smiley cheeky face.

Viola tricolor is a wild pansy, associated with magic, love and romance for centuries before the round-petalled, cultivated pansy became popular in England around 1810.  The wild pansy is known by many names - Heartsease, Love-in-Idleness, Johnny Jump Up, Love-Lies-Bleeding, Stepmother and others. The name Pansy derives from the French pensees, meaning thoughts.

In Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream Puck, assistant to Oberon,  King of the Fairies, squeezes the juice of Love-In-Idleness into the eyes of sleeping Titania, so she will fall in love with the first creature she sees when she wakes.


  1. I like your name. So pretty in close-up.

  2. This is my favourite weed in our garden. It pop up early winter under some plants in our garden. The one growing in shade some survive through summer which bring a smile to the face to see how strong it has been against the heat.Kind of missing them at the moment as not many bloom in our garden.

  3. Pansies are pretty but tiny Violas are my very favorite.

  4. so pretty. I see them everywhere right now - even in little cracks in my patio. I'll have to show this post to my daughter who is starting to read A Midsummer Night's Dream.

  5. I love them too Catmint, of all the flowers that make me smile just to see them, these top the list :)

  6. Thanks Hermes.

    Dear MKG, If only all weeds were so lovely ...

    Dear Nell, me too, to me violas have character, pansies are contrived.

    Dear Wendy, welcome back!!!! Apparently lots of plant knowledge in Shakespeare.

    Dear gg, they are truly happiness inducing.

    cheers, cm

  7. Hi Catmint! I'd forgotten what Johnny Jump ups were... and Now I remember. Do you ever pot them?

  8. They grow/reseed in my garden too and I love them. Great photos!

  9. This wild pansy is really pretty! Oh yes, I can imagine it to make me smile... marvellous colours. Love to see the real flower myself one day.

  10. Hi Shady, I don't pot them - I'm not really into pots, I just let them do their thing in the garden.

    Hi Grace, I'm so pleased you like the photos, I'm currently doing a photography course and I'm trying to get out of my comfort zone.

    Hi Steph, maybe unfortunately this is not a plant that grows in your part of the world. As you say, the colours are amazing.

    Thanks for the comments, cheers, cm

  11. I always called these little lovelies wild violets. I much prefer johnny jump up!

  12. Dear LH, me too - but I wonder who Johnny is or was? cheers, cm

  13. Catmint, yes you are right. It's not a plant we can find easily here. But just today, I have received a few bio-pots that come with Viola cornuta Helen Mount seeds. I will try to plant them anyhow and see what happens. Actually I have come across viola selling at nurseries before but have not seen them returning in the market thus far. Btw, does it stand up well to the rain?

  14. Hi Stephanie, in my experience they seem to like the rain but then our rain is not usually heavy like tropical rain. I look forward to hearing and seeing how you go with them. cheers, cm


I love to get feedback and comments, and getting to know other bloggers. I also appreciate corrections if you detect an error, because I'm not an expert, but a self taught enthusiastic amateur on a steep learning curve.

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