Ode to the Pansy

“And there is pansies, that’s for thoughts.”

– Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet

I think I was about three or four years of age when pansies became my favourite flower.

It all started with my great Aunt Rex, my grandma’s sister, who was visiting from Toronto one summer. She was, up to that point, the most elegant, most glamorous woman I had met. She was thin, stylish, and spoke with an affected accent that sounded very old Hollywood. And everything was “mahvelous,” “fantastic,” or “superb.” She had naturally wavy auburn hair, drank hot tea and never took her high heels off, not even in the house.

One afternoon, while I was visiting my grandma’s house, we went for a turn in her back garden.

“Look, there, in that flower,” my Aunt Rex pointed out. “There’s a fairy sleeping in there. Do you see it?”

I did. It had a little green dress – or was that its blanket? – with a pretty little green head on top.

“At night,” she whispered, “they come out and dance on the green.”

The next time I stayed over night at my grandma’s house, I stood up on my bed, up on my tippy toes, to peek out of the window just overhead, to see if I could spy any of those fairies.

Sadly, I didn’t see any that night, but I knew they were there. And to this very day, I can still see them in there, sleeping in those pansies.

Can you see the one above? There, in the centre?

Today, pansies are just one of my many favourite flowers, and I like them for the way they look, as well as that magical story from my childhood. My favourites are blues and whites, and you will likely see a raft of them swaying in the breeze on my balcony during the summer months.

What’s your favourite flower?

– Words and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier

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  1. Tulips. Their stems squeaking against each other as I coax them into a vase.

    When I was a little girl, I used to pry open the tightly closed, immature buds to see the little yellow figurine inside, then always regretted when the flower never opened properly afterwards.

    Thankfully, there were lots of tulips in our flower bed. And I’m no longer so impatient.

  2. Love your ode to the pansy. I also love the fact that they are so resilient in the cold weather. Come frost or what not and they still shine strongly and brightly by afternoon. Maybe that says a lot about the people who love them so?

    My favorite is hard to choose as any flower is always welcomed in my vases. But if I had to, I think I’d choose the Gerber Daisy. I bet you thought I was going to say the Lily:-)

  3. Simple white daisies with their centres of gold.
    And fragrant miniature roses.

    But I’m partial to pansies, too…have been since childhood. In Afrikaans (my mother’s first language) they’re called “gesiggies”–literally, faces.

    And daffodils! And lilies! Happy Easter, sweet friend. Thank you for another year of beautiful words.


  4. love that story!!
    and i have always loved pansies too!

    happy easter lori!

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