Jolly Pots Of Colour

Do you ever see something that is very much part of your day to day environment that transports you to another place and time?

I saw these pansies planted in the street by my local council and immediately thought of my Scottish grandmother.

She was a disciplinarian, often inflexible and lacking in humour, someone to be feared and revered in equal measure, but she loved her pansies.

My Grandma lived in a council flat. The kitchen looked onto the railway line. All day and night you heard the sound of the trains as they trundled up to Edinburgh.

The buildings were grey. The streets were greyer. It was an imposing world. There were few gardens. Even fewer trees. Even as a child I understood why people drank too much or forgot how to smile. We need colour to pull us out of the shadows.

My Grandma innately understood this. Hers was the only flat in the block with window boxes. She filled them with pansies, marigolds, anything bright and jolly. She pulled the boxes inside on cold nights, watered them with care. I suspect when no one was around she sang to them.

Over time people began to comment on them.

Many people got window boxes of their own. My Grandma’s block stood out like a beacon of a better life amidst the concrete blanched by frost and despair.

I’ll never forget those pansies.

Seeing them in the street the other day made me realise that the things that shape us are always tucked away in our psyche, they are always a part of us.

And that even now in the immediate present they can be recalled just like that, reconnecting us to the past.

Jolly pots of colour. So simple. So beautiful.

Making me smile.

*I have written a post on editing your writing at A Novel Place.

I’d love to see you there.

21 thoughts on “Jolly Pots Of Colour

    It is so nice to be transported to a bygone time. It really made me feel good. Thank you, little pansies!

    Hi LISA:
    Memories of both of my grandmothers are sweet. They were such an influence on me. I am fortunate, indeed.


  2. When your page came up & I saw the picture all I could think was “HAPPY!!” Flowers are nature’s way of beautifying the world & gladdening the eye. I’m so glad they have extra special meaning for you too. 🙂


  3. We always have pansies in the garden, because they’re among the first flowers out … even before the daffs and tulips some years. A bit of colour is always welcome, especially after a drear winter.

    We have a lovely violet-and-white one that we think self-seeded in one of our tubs which is usually one of the first arrivals.


    I think they are always there. I like to think that they are, waiting to be summoned.

    Hi ROSHAN:
    Flowers always lift my mood, mostly because I can’t get over the colours. Too gorgeous to be true!

    Hi AINE:
    Immediately, I smiled. HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY. There’s no other word for it!

    Oh, the violet and white ones are especially nice. Quite elegant. I really love those ones. My Mum has some of them in her garden. Daffs and tulips are gorgeous too. Your garden must be full of colour!


  5. I hope my garden’s still full of colour; either it rained or my neighbour remembered to water the flowers! 😀


    Oh, I hope so too. 😀

    They really do make a difference. So cheery on a dreary day!

    Awww. You are a sweetie ♥


  7. Hi RACHEL:
    She influenced me with her love of flowers, fox stoles and everything French. It made a dour, intractable woman much more appealing in my eyes.


  8. For me it is fig preserve. My grandma used to have this homemade fir preserve that I simply adored as a child. Every time I visited her, she would take the lovely jar out of the cupboard and serve three figs in a little bowl made of glass with exquisite floral patterns and a cute tiny spoon plus a glass of water, all on an oval silverfish tray. I don’t think those bowls are sold anywhere now, but perhaps they can still be found in elder people’s homes. The fruits were like glazed, perfectly preserved in their entirety and so delicious. I can’t think of fig preserve without remembering my sweet granny and the warm and loving atmosphere of her home.


  9. Hi SHIONA:
    Don’t worry about the typo, I do it all the time. Your memory of the figs and the glass bowls is gorgeous. Something to be treasured. Thanks for sharing it!


  10. I just returned from an unexpected week-long stay at my parents’ place in Oregon. While I was there, I poked around and found so many memories and treasures, not only the ones from my past, but from my mother’s past as well.

    Memories like the ones you shared are so sweet, they deserve to be shared and not hidden away. Thanks for sharing yours. 🙂


  11. Hi KAREN:
    Sounds like a worthwhile trip. I love doing things like that – poking around in old childhood haunts. So many wonderful things resurface.


  12. Pansies in the winter?!?! It is winter there yes? How lucky for you! Colour in the winter, what a treat! Seven months out of the year its drab brown here.

    I love spring and when I was growing up, one of the neighbors had this glorious garden of tulips in all different colours. I remember seeing what I thought were black ones. They may have been deep purple but I’ve never seen that colour of tulip again.

    That blast of colour from her garden always raised my spirits, knowing spring was finally here.


  13. Hi CATHY:
    It is the winter and we do get our pansies now. It really is cheery to see their colour in winter.

    I love tulips too and I have seen those really dark ones. They are quite rare. I think you’re right, they are more of a deep purple. Just gorgeous and definitely good for the spirits!


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