Having found lists of obscure/obsolete color names and rounded out the alphabet with a few simply-charming-to-me colors, each day, I’ll introduce a color and a swatch I’ve painted and then write about whatever comes to mind as I muse about the day’s color. Fair warning, my mind is a non-linear traveler, so who knows where my contemplations will take us.
G is for… Gridelin – grayish violet (from the French, literally meaning flax gray)
I’m enchanted by flowers – I can hardly look at them enough, marveling at how they reach for the light, how they unfold their petals, how they produce such beautiful scents, how they invite bees and butterflies to drink deeply of their nectar and dust themselves in pollen. It all seems so magical and proof of the goodness of the universe.
I have a special love for violet-colored flowers. And what finer example than Violet herself? A perfect Spring-time harbinger.
There are over 400 varieties of violets in the Viola family, but the wild violets are my favorite. They’re curious creatures. They often produce flowers both in late winter/spring and again later. In Spring, they are fully formed and sweetly scented, and this is how we likely picture them. But these flowers are mostly barren. Later, they produce very small “insignificant” flowers, quite hidden among their leaves, and these produce lots of seeds. The Violet also propagates itself by sending out runners, and these, in turn, grow roots and become new plants without the necessity of seeding at all.
There are two suggestions as to how Violet got her name. The more mundane suggests it derives from Vias, meaning wayside, which is where the flowers often appear. But the Latin word viola derives from the Greek name Io. And it is said that Zeus, wary of Juno’s jealousy, turned his beloved lover Io into a white heifer. Because Io found it unpleasant to have to graze on what was available, Zeus created violets, especially for her.
I have always been amused by the expression, “Violets are God’s apology for February.” But it does make my heart happy knowing the violets will be coming.
Besides being delightful for their appearance and fragrance, violets also have long been important in the herbal arts. They were often thought to cure hangovers, and ancient Romans sometimes wore head wreaths made from violets for just such purposes. Greeks used the plants to induce sleep, calm anger, and strengthen the heart. With their typically heart-shaped leaves, the doctrine of signatures suggested they were useful in the treatment of heart conditions. Violets also contain a great deal of natural sugar and have earned a strong position in the culinary arts. They’re crystallized, made into syrups and marmalades, and of course, simply enjoyed as decorative additions to salads and confections.
In Victorian floriography, the language of flowers, violets connoted modesty, virtue, affection, and innocence. As one of the flowers that herald Spring, I think that’s a lovely association. We tend to think of Spring as bursting with vibrancy, but it’s always a gentle transition into that all-out exuberance, and violets are quiet and genial way-showers.
It’s not only the flowers I love. I can’t help but think that in the color spectrum, violet has the shortest wavelength and the highest frequency. There’s something very magical about that. The connection of violet to the spiritual realms and moving from the borders of seen to unseen are pronounced.
What about you? Do you love violets, or does your heart belong to another flower? Interested in the language of flowers? Ever eaten violets? Do tell – you know I’d love to hear.
My young guest yesterday plucked one of my violets growing wantonly in my yard to bring to me as a gift!
That is so sweet!
I have indeed eaten violets as part of a floral salad mix – enjoyable enough, though my faves are nasturtiums. At school, one of my favourite sweets (candy) was ‘parma violets’ – whether they ever actually contained any of the flowers or were just full of chemicals, who knows!!! YAM xx
Knowing I loved violets, someone once bought me a little tin filled with violet-flavored candy. I’m pretty sure no violets were involved in any way. But it was a delightful little gift, and I kept little treasure in the tin for years.
I have eaten violets (and I think I vaguely remember a violet tasting gum from my childhood). I love to see the violets bloom. Where I live, I’ve seen three varieties – violet colored, white and a white and lavender type. I planted one (from a wildflower nursery an hour from me) in my lawn. I did not know about the large spring blooms being sterile – I never knew there was a second bloom and will have to check my plant. They are not blooming yet.
I love lawn violets, although I know lots of folks don’t. It’s too early here as well, but I’m looking forward to their appearance.
I don’t know about eating flowers, unless they are made of frosting on cake – LOL. Pretty color.
LOL – I like eating those kinds as well.
I love the color and the flower although I can’t possibly pick a favorite flower. I tend to love multi-colored, orange or purple ones best. Of any type!
I could never pick a favorite either – they’re all wonderful. Although I think my preferred palette is pinks and purples.
I love violets, such pretty flowers. I have eaten flowers too, and enjoyed it 😉
Great AtoZ theme!
Thanks Frederique. And I agree about flower eating. Pretty and tasty – what’s not to like about that?
Remember Choward’s violet-flavored gum? I’ve had that…
No, I don’t remember it, but I bet I would have liked it.
The word ‘viola’ always brings to mind, for me, Shakespeare. 🙂
I like Twelfth Night. I just met a kitty named Viola today – made me smile.
I love flowers. Have eaten violets in salads. But this is new for me “Violets are God’s apology for February.” Being particularly fond of February, I accept God’s apology;)
LOL – good for you, Arti!
We have violets blooming now. I love seeing them.
I never would have guessed violets had anything to do with the myth of Io. That’s really interesting. I do like violets, though I think I may be a bigger fan of lilies.