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Plant a Flower Day

"Pray, love, remember; and there is pansies, that’s for thoughts..."

~ Hamlet, William Shakespeare, 1599-1601

The name "pansy" is derived from the French word pensée, "thought", and was imported into Late Middle English as a name of the Viola flower by the mid-15th century, as a floral symbol of remembrance. The pansy is particularly honored with important shades of meanings in floriography (the cryptological communication through the use or arrangement of flowers) through its many common suggestive names including: Heartsease, Heart's Delight, Tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, Come-and-cuddle-me, Johnny Jump Up, Love-in-idleness, and many more! "Love in Idleness" was meant to invoke the image of a lover who has little or no other employment than to think of his beloved. Modern horticulturists have developed a wide range of pansy flower colors and bicolors including yellow, gold, orange, purple, violet, red, white, and even near-black (very dark purple)! For more on floral folklore and traditions, visit my in progress companion site: secretflowerlanguage.com

By designer Carol A.L. Martin, this tartan pays tributes to the beautiful colors in this favorite old-fashioned garden flower related to the wild species of violet (Viola tricolor).


Although adorned with lovely meanings in the language of flowers, the pansy figures differently when linked to folk tales.  In Scandinavia, Scotland, and German-speaking countries, the pansy was sometimes known as the "stepmother"; the name was accompanied by an tale about a selfish stepmother, and told to children while the teller plucked off corresponding parts of the blossom to fit the plot!   


And in the Americas, a floral game called “Violet War” was also popular in the 19th and early 20th century.  In this game, two players would intertwine the hooks where the pansy blossoms meet the stems, then attempt to pull the two flowers apart like wishbones. Whoever pulled off the most of their opponent’s violet heads was proclaimed the winner!


For more about the meaning of flowers in Victorian flower language, click the pansy!