In a Vase on Monday: Pansy Love

Monday, and despite more wind and rain today I gathered a few flowers for a vase to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden with her Monday meme.


Pickings are few – only from the patio containers near the house. But the pansies/violas never fail to please for so many of the winter days. The German name for these, translated, is “little step mothers”! (Stiefmütterchen) The official explanation for this name is actually disappointing – no wonderful legend attached, simply botanical logic: the wide petal at the base is the “mother”, and partly covers the “daughters” at the side, which also in turn partly cover the upper two “step-daughters”.

Vase1st2I added a silver leaf (the name of which I always forget) and a purply red Heuchera leaf too.

February is the month when the light noticeably returns, but until then candles are a comforting addition to a windowsill or the table at teatime. However, I have a few candles, like this one, that serve a purely decorative purpose and have never been lit. The wall decoration is actually a tea towel – a gift from my neighbour – I love it so much though that it has been hung above my ironing board.



I wonder what everyone else has found for their Monday vase this week. Do go and visit Cathy and take a look too.

51 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday: Pansy Love

  1. Purple pansies always remind me of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” “Yet mark’d I where the bolt of Cupid fell. / It fell upon a little western flower, / Before milk-white, now purple with love’s wound. / And maidens call it ‘love-in-idleness.'” Lovely. The silver looks like dusty miller, which we always planted with pansies at my childhood home.

    • The comment above yours from Madame Elizabeth reminded me of the name – Senecio or Dusty Miller. It is also in a patio pot as the garden is too damp for it in winter and it tends to turn into a sorry mess!

  2. That’s a funny explanation for the pansy’s name–very interesting. Your purple themed arrangement is lovely and the tea towel would almost make me not mind ironing.

    • I hope we will soon have some brighter days for better light in my photos Susie. I resorted to the ironing board this week as it was one of the brightest places in the house with a background! 😉

  3. They look ao friendly and bring colour into boring days. My grandmother told me, not to put “Little Stepmothers” on a table on a child´s baptism day. It would bring bad luck or a stepmother. I like the name pansy more! 🙂

  4. Your display gives the wonderful pansies stature, Cathy! I can’t think of those flowers as “stepmothers” I’m afraid – too much exposure to the evil incarnation in Cinderella perhaps.

  5. February is almost March and almost Spring! The extra light is very welcome. I never think to put Pansies in a vase Cathy but this is so pretty, lovely choice. 🙂

    • That is optimism Julie. But then February is a short month…. I am trying to be optimistic too, but the weather has just been so wet and grey for days now. And tonight it started snowing a bit!

  6. Oh that’s fascinating about the Stiefmütterchen, Cathy – we do learn some weird and wonderful things from our blogs don’t we?! Your vase has a vintage look about it today – but pansies have been popular for a long time I suppose. No violas for me this winter as the ones I grew from seed all suffered severe aphid damage. Might try some more pansies for the summr though. Very pretty tea towel too – too pretty for drying dishes!

    • I love finding out about the common names of plants,malthough this one does seem a bit far-fetched! I should have used my ‘vintage’ style pansy doily I made last summer, but it has been put away in a ‘safe place’… I shall have to say a prayer to St Anthony! 😉

  7. i have always loved violas and pansies. I think they are the first flowers I can recall knowing (maybe after roses) because my grandmother always had them and I loved their “faces.” Thank you for sharing who in Germany they’re called ‘little stepmothers.” Somehow that name just adds to the charm. 🙂

    • Hi Debra. I am never quite sure whether to call them pansies or violas, so Stiefmütterchen is a nice alternative! For me the violas are the smaller more delicate ones, and the pansies were always the big smiley ones which were the main sort we grew when I was young.

    • They are endearing plants, aren’t they! I usually plant some in pots in the autumn, and then when it gets too hot late spring they go out in the garden. Not many manage to set seed as it is so dry here in summer, but occasionally one pops up in an unexpected place!

  8. Cathy, your entire vignette is inviting. I love purple and I love pansies and you’ve displayed both beautifully. I’ve never heard the German name but it is an interesting description of the petal formation. I love hearing stories about the origin of names. They often surprise you.

    I wonder if your silver leaf is what we call Dusty Miller. tid=120019310000277013&cadevice=c&gclid=Cj0KEQiAxMG1BRDFmu3P3qjwmeMBEiQAEzSDLg4htfkqICz3JN4giEbljQXvG5fYhVs-wPVV0PQtVogaAgda8P8HAQ

    • Thanks for the link Alys. Yes, Dusty Miller! I am jot sure if there is a plant called Miller’s Dust, but that is what I always (wrongly) call it! I love the stories behind common flower names too. They are often obscure but sometimes incredibly enlightening. 🙂

      • I like Miller’s Dust! Isn’t it funny how the brain works. Sometimes if I can get part of a word phrase the rest pores out. If not, it’s as if my brain put up a wall. I hope you’re having a good week.

    • Thank you Noelle. The tiny vase needed raising a little and the cake stand served the purpose well. I like your description of them as ‘dainty’ – very fitting. 🙂

  9. Pansies are like the little black dress Cathy – they are both subtle and timeless. You’ve got the right idea with that tea towel – it’s much too eye-catching and informative to be used for drying dishes.

    • I was so surprised that something like this tea towel was available in Germany. My dear neighbour was also surprised at how much I liked it, I think! I would love the equivalent with German wild flowers now! 😉

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