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"She seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if she had surprised a butterfly in the Winter woods"
(edith wharton)


Sunday, 27 July 2008

but then again, what about violets?

another perfume that takes me instantly back to my Nan's home, into her garden and her bedroom is violets... ahh yes.. that delicious, sweet perfume that only violets have. I remember my Nan methodically, slowly and gently, picking a bunch of violets and surrounding the bunch with violet leaves, tying it up with cotton thread and putting it into a small glass vase on her bedside table.. and my little nose would sniff strongly, trying to absorb as much of that smell as I could. You know what I mean.. sniffing and not wanting to take a breath incase you lose the smell, sniffing until your lungs feel like they will burst.. I still do it sometimes

Funny, as I started to 'research' violets on the net, I came across Devon Violets.... "South Devon has always been associated with the growing and cultivation of sweet scented violets dating back to its peak in Victorian and Edwardian days.".... my Pa was born in Devon... East Stonehouse to be exact...I wonder if he planted his violets in his own garden in memory of the place that he left when he was a little boy of 5 years old.... I wonder if his mum, Laura had them growing in her garden in her new home here in Australia? I guess I will never know, so one must assume that she did. Even though she was born in Cornwall, she lived her married life in Devon until she came to Australia in 1915. So lucky me, I have the best of both worlds and of course I have digressed yet again...... but the words 'Devon Violets' has that same soul stirring that lavender does...

**I spoke to my mum about Laura and asked her if she could remember Laura growing violets and she said 'oh yes! they grew everywhere.. popping up between the brick paths where it was damp & moist. They were picked every Sunday and put into a little jar onto the mantle, near the saying "HOME, the place where you grumble the most but are treated the best"..'
..in my minds eye, I saw it.. I saw the jar of violets, I saw the saying .. beautiful words surrounded by vintage flowers, most probably framed and glassed....I saw Laura standing there, thinking of Devon & Cornwall...yes, I gotta go pick myself a bunch of violets this very minute and put them into one of the little vintage pecks paste jars that I have been collecting forever.......it is quite weird how very much like Laura I seem to be.. not ever knowing her in real life.

I now have my own violet patch that I inherited when we bought Inglewood. Under the apple tree.. the perfume right now is wonderful as i walk up my garden path towards my back door. It just wafts over me... much like the lavender does but in a gentler way... violets are genteel. softer... more ladylike.

"If you gather the first Violet in the season, your dearest wish will be granted. Ancient Greeks wore the violet to calm tempers and to induce sleep.A necklace of violets protects from deception and inebriation. Use them in spells to restore health after long illness. If you dream of violets, fortune is sure to smile on you before long. If violets bloom in autumn, they speak a warning. A lovely myth
tells us that violets first sprang where Orpheus laid his enchanted lute."

so what had been happening in Woodford the past few days? it has been bone chilling cold, the fire has been burning non-stop and I have been snuggling in my big pink chair, covered with my favourite vintage eiderdown & I thinking, as I do... eventually coming to yet another profound light bulb moment of those lovely moments in my garden, when I am utterly at peace, when I have a real stillness in my soul... it is those moments that I am in the presence of Spirit/Goddess/God/Universe.. call it what you will.. but I believe you know what I mean.. total peace and I wanted to bottle it but then realized that if I were like that all the time, in perfect stillness, then those moments would not be special, but I realised that they do actually happen to ME...all these thoughts really made alot of sense to me at the time, they probably don't now nor can I put them into words..... I moved the furniture around in my dining room last Thursday.. from here to there and back again.. then over there, oops not quite right, what about over there? all by myself..... cupboards, dressers, tables... lots of energy was moved that day... and I was absolutely exhausted on Friday.. I think I over did it.. so I did not a thing on Friday, ..except sleep and read back on some favourite blogs... felt guilty for doing nothing but I kept telling myself it was ok... honestly, I am so hard on myself sometimes.... the washing is out in the cold winter sunshine today, the garden can wait because it is too cold and I am going to pick that bunch of violets, surround them by leaves and tie them with string.

21 comments:

Caitlin said...

...'then realized that if I were like that all the time, in perfect stillness, then those moments would not be special'

I need to remember this too, I want it all the time and find myself frustrated when life is such that I don't have time to just sit and be still, but I do have it sometimes and you're right, if I did have it all the time it would become mundane!

I don't have any violets in my garden but after reading your post I want some.

willow said...

Violets grow under our big old locust tree. I love them. And I enjoyed this post!

Gemma said...

Robyn,
Hope you are feeling the peace and enjoyment of the violets. I know exactly how you felt, after having moved furniture around so much.
I do that every few months. It's good to change the chi.
:-)

Sorrow said...

So glad to hear that you are finding special moments, peace and a bit of inner harmony from time to time. Violets, what a sweet memory...

amelia said...

My Nan had violets growing under her hedge and she did the same thing with tying them. It must be an English Nan thing!

We took my dad off life support two days ago and he died peacefully.

Kathryn Knoll said...

Once again a simply delicious read! It feels to me so simple and refreshing. You know, all the technology, helpful though it is, making our lives easier, sometimes draws us away from these beautiful, sacred moments you capture that make our hearts long for the simpler times. It is the difference between buying a loaf of bread at the supermarket and having one that is home-made, toothy, warm and hardy, whose scent fills the house and lifts the spirits. That again, is what it is like visiting Inglewood. It lifts the spirits and enlivens me! Thank you. Keep it up!hugs, Sr.K

Julie said...

What a beautiful, sweet post about violets.

PS - if you feel so guilty about doing nothing, come on over to my house and do some cleaning. It needs it!

And just remember, it may be really cold there but you have violets growing! Nothing grows in the winter here. Except icicles.

Pam said...

Violets are so sweet. Where did the name 'shrinking violet' come from. They don't shrink, they just "be" in their own lovely way, small and beautiful. I think they are a delightful faery flower and never seen to bother with the silvery snail trails, while little marigolds and small seedlings cower in anticipation of the nibbles!Pay me a visit Robyn...I've discovered the most beautiful site!

peppylady said...

Violets to me our simple but a lovely flower.

winterwood said...

I just sprayed inside the clothes cupboards with april violets by yardley - the spray - oh it reminds me of the old days and my grandma!

Gena said...

Hi Robyn! its lovely to hear from you again! yes Devon violets was a really poular perfume here in the UK many years ago,my grandma used to have a little stoneware bottle painted with violets containing the 'scent' as my Grandma called perfume,and we used to buy sweets called parma violets,I think you can still get them.Blessings to you my friend.xxx

Ruth said...

We have loads of violets - they are taking over the garden. But they are dog violets, not the scented kind, which is a pity.

Bimbimbie said...

Hi Robyn, I remember being given a gift of Devon Violet perfume in a little white porcelain bottle when I was a pre teen *!*

By the way have you left your freezer door open? ... it's beem ffffreezing up here today. Smiles & hugs *!*

Sacred Suzie said...

Thank you for this Robyn, I learn so much from you. I didn't know anything about violets before! I think one day I will have to grow them.

It was on the news here in Canada that Australia got snow for the first time in centuries?! Is that true?!

I hope you're keeping warm my friend.

Kathryn Knoll said...

One more thought to reassure you, that when you live your life in a peaceful, blessed way all the time, it never loses its specialness, never becomes ordinary, but, in fact becomes so sacred that you continue to order your world like this and begin to give off this kind of energy where ever you go. To the rest of the world around you, that you affect with this kind of energy, it is very noticeable and welcome. People can't quite "put their finger on it" but, none the less, they become attracted to it and seek sanctuary there. You become a magnet of peace and sanity. This one thing, I know, for sure!So, never shy away from it thinking it will never last or needs to be reserved for just occasional uses. Choose to be this blessing, always. hugs, Sr. K

tinker said...

Violets have been my favorite since I was a little girl. My mother used to buy me tiny bottles of Devon violet cologne for my birthday. I still have the last one she gave me, and I very carefully take one of those breaths you described - from it, at least once every year...
Lilacs and lavender are tied for my next favorites...
Happy autumn days to you, Robyn~xOx

smilnsigh said...

This is an "Off Topic Comment" but...I seem to have lost my knack for posting/commenting in 'Blog Land,' for a while. All I do lately, is put up a few photos, here and there. I didn't plan on it... It just happened.

And since I don't want anyone to think I got *uppity* or anything, :-) I'm leaving this comment, to explain my absence.

I'm sure to be back in not too long. Can't keep a "Chatty Person" quiet, for too long. :-)

Miss Mari-Nanci

Rapunzel said...

It is so hot here, we can't grow violets. *pout* They are so beautiful and special, will live vicariously though you!

linda may said...

G'Day,
Ah Violets. Brings memories of my childhood back yard. My Mum always grew them. They still come back each year unbidden in her neglected garden. My son lives there now. I loved to pick them and would put them in a small vegemite jar. Just the right size to display them. Did you ever notice that if you sniff them deeply a few times in a row you can't smell them any more?
Why is that?

RainbowMom said...

I have truly been inspired to run out and gather myself a little bit of Violets! A beautiful movie passed through my heart as I read your post. I love the way you speak with such honour and love and grace for your ancestors.. for those who's shoulders hold you up today. Very beautiful. Thank you!

Lady Laurie said...

The lovely,sweet violet, we can't grow them down here, but I did have some wonderful violet soap once upon a time!
I love when you post about herbs and flowers.