illustration: petite pansies

My addition to Illustration Friday's "Garden" topic this week.

Most of us recognize the humble little pansy flower. They come in a variety of colors and add some gorgeous speckles of contrast to our gardens. But there's actually a lot more to know about pansies, much of which goes back centuries and has the potential to tickle your inspiration. 

Folk names for this little beauty include kiss-me-at-the-garden-gate, love-in-idelness, garden violet, and my personal favorite, heart's ease. But the word pansy means "thought" in French. This is probably why in the Language of Flowers it means "think of me" and/or "happy memories". It's also probably why some folks think gazing upon pansies are good for calming racing thoughts and quelling anxieties.

According to ancient myth, the god Eros accidentally shot one of his arrows into a pansy flower, causing it to "smile" as well as a flower can. And little Pansy has been smiling ever since... poor dear... in love with Love himself.

Did you know that you can actually eat pansy flowers? Some people even sugar them and include them in salads or garnish drinks with them. Of course, Martha has the low down on that.

No matter what pansies mean to you... whether you keep them in your garden, eat them off the side of your mint julep glass, or whatever... they're gorgeous little things that add authentic beauty to the everyday. And sometimes that means everything.

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