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.