Monday, May 29, 2006

Johnny Jumps Ups

A few years ago a friend of mine showed me some tiny little flowers that were growing along his driveway. I couldn't believe it. The petals of the flowers looked hand painted.

I looked for those little flowers in the local nursery for the past few years, but never saw them again. They looked similar to pansies, but were much smaller. And kind of like violets, but more detailed.

This weekend I went to one of the local shops to find some plants to fill in a little circle garden in my front lawn. As I trolled the annuals, all of the sudden I saw them. A few lonely little plants left on the shelf.

Turns out they were violas. Never heard of them, but that doesn't mean much as I'm not an experienced gardener. So, I grabbed what was left and made my way to the cash register.

At the side of the register a little old lady was sitting with her walker. I think she was waiting in the cool of the indoors while her family was outside shopping. All of a sudden she kind of shouted out to me "Are those Johnny Jump Ups you are buying?." I looked over to see who she was talking to and she was looking at me dead on....and like I was some kind of simpleton for not knowing my flowers :-) She said it again "Do you have Johnny Jump Ups there?" I looked at the cashier and she said "I think those are those little ones."

So, I grabbed one of the viola containers and brought it over to where the little old lady was sitting. She was so cute. She took one look at them and said "Yup, Johnny Jump Ups." I think by this time she had gathered that I was a little clueless, so she instructed me to plant them in part sun.....and that "if I was lucky" they would come up year after year. She told me she had planted them for years and years in her gardens. I've been trying to plant old fashioned flowers in my gardens, so this was fun to know.

Violas or Johnny Jump Ups, I think these little flowers are very impressive. How do they know that each petal needs that exact design?


Allison said...

These are great tenacious little plants. When I was growing up, we planted them in the flowerbeds adjacent to the house; now they pop up all over the whole yard.

StuccoHouse said...

Interesting. They sell them as annuals here, but the little old lady said they come up every year....and they just appeared along the driveway at my friend's house. I planted them as edging on my garden with plenty of room to spread, if they want to.

Although, my luck with plants is strange. Lillies of the valley, rhubarb, mint. All problem plants for me....and me alone.

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