In a vase on Monday. Pensées.

I have a little Tunstall pansy jug which obviously has to be filled with pansies. In French pansies are called ‘Pensées’ and perhaps this is where the word pansy comes from.

I have often wondered why they are called ‘Pensées’, they don’t look very pensive to me. They have dear little faces and look bright and jolly, but if they were people I imagine they would be a bit vacuous; nice but dim.

Perhaps the name means they inspire thoughtfulness in the beholder, rather than being thoughtful themselves. With this in mind, it seems appropriate to display them with the book, ‘Pensées‘ which is the work of the great, seventeenth- century, mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Pascal.
When he wasn’t occupied with mathematics, philosophy and science, Pascal came up with some half-baked religious theories. The famous Pascal’s Wager seems particularly asinine to me and morally dubious.
But there is one quotation from Pascal which is a favourite of mine. ‘All of humanity’s problems arise from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone’. If he had been English instead of French, he would probably have added…’with a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.’
But much as I like his theory, the weather at the moment is too beautiful to sit in rooms alone. Outside is where we need to be, enjoying the glorious sunshine.
No, it hasn’t been snowing; these are petals from the Pianist’s favourite tree. Here it is; the big, blowsy and rather vulgar ‘Pink Knicker  Blossom Tree’.
I am showing my pansy vase today, to join in with the Cathy at ramblinginthegarden whose meme ‘In a Vase on Monday’ is becoming ever more popular. Do go over there and see other bloggers’ vases.

By the way Pansies are called ‘Stiefmütterchen‘ in German. Which means:  ‘Little Stepmothers.

Little Stepmothers.

Little Stepmothers.

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51 Responses to In a vase on Monday. Pensées.

  1. I adore pansies but missed growing and planting them as I was away….but your vase and beautiful blooms have cheered me…and those pansy faces are always smiling.

  2. Anna says:

    Oh I have a serious case of vase envy Chloris – so pretty and you’ve found the perfect pansies to occupy the vase. Ophelia’s words come to mind “And there is pansies, that’s for thoughts” along with the recollection that the French word ‘penser’ means to think. That chair looks the best place to be on a day like this. Love the hat 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      I love the vase too Anna. I grew the pansies specially for it. I don’t often get chance to sit in the garden, but the weather has been so gorgeous that I sat and lazed and read. Bliss

  3. Lavinia Ross says:

    The pansies are beautiful! And I like the quote from Pascal. 🙂

  4. Christina says:

    I do hope, Liz, that you were actually sitting, resting and taking the sun and this wasn’t just a prop. the delightful pensées

  5. Your post is such a delightful teatime treat, thank you for the thought that went into it and the lovely series of photographs. I shall enjoy mulling over Pascal’s words with my second cuppa.

  6. I’m glad you’re enjoying pleasant weather. The origin of the common names of plants is interesting, particularly when you consider the differences across cultures. I still remember my amusement at discovering that Soleirolia, which Americans call baby’s tears, are known as “mind your own business” in the UK.

    • Chloris says:

      It has been quite hot for a few days, but today it is raining. We do have such different common names for plants that it really shows how Latin is important, so that we all know what we are talking about.

  7. pbmgarden says:

    Would agree that pretty vase definitely calls for pansies. Little Stepmothers seems like a particularly heavy burden for such charming little flowers.

    • Chloris says:

      Indeed I grew the pansies specially. I can’t imagine where the name Little Stepmothers came from. I used to have a German Mother-in Law who loved them and that is how I know the name.

  8. Goodness, deep thoughts when you should be eating your biscuit and enjoying the sunshine. I think you have some Antique Shades Pansies there, my all time favorite.

    I hope that is a Kwanzan Cherry, does the Pianist like it for its name or the flowers?

    • Chloris says:

      Well as Pascal said you have to sit quietly alone with a cup of tea and a biscuit in order to have deep thoughts. Well, he didn’t actually mention the cup of tea and biscuit. But he should have done.
      Indeed, I think it is a Kwanzen Cherry tree.. I ‘m not sure why the Pianist likes it. It’s not my favourite. I like my blossom a bit more dainty.

      • Wonderful! I agree with you on all counts, always having thought the Kwanzans were a bit crass! They usually were destroyed by borers where I lived which was another reason not to have them. Autumnalis and Yoshinos are another story.

  9. pansies or pensees they are delightful. Did you actually sit a while in the chair?

  10. Alain says:

    Your post had me scurry to my French dictionaries wondering why indeed they are called pensées. According to the Robert, the name dates from 1460 and comes from the fact that the flower was the emblem of memory (I suppose a memory is a thought).
    I like the way you have your photos go from the specific to the more general

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Alain, that’s interesting That was lazy of me, I should have done the research myself. But the weather we were having for 3 wonderful days was lazy sort of weather. It didn’t last of course, it never does in this country.

  11. I agree… pansies do not make one think of thoughtfulness! They are fun, extroverted party flowers, clearly too busy gossiping to have a moment to think quietly. But perhaps the colours have become bolder in modern varieties since they were first given the name.

    • Chloris says:

      I agree, they do look as if they are gossiping. But of course modern hybrids are a bit over the top. They remind me of super models with too much make up, enhanced boobs and trout lips. Violas are much prettier really.

  12. Ha! I like the way you describe your thoughts about their personalities. 😉 I think of pansies as friendly, but vain. Their “cousins” the straight-species violas and violets strike me as more thoughtful, empathic, and warm. Silly, but a fun game to play. And, yes, “outside is where we need to be” this time of year. Enjoy!

    • Chloris says:

      I do agree, that is just right. It is impossible not to give them personalities when they have faces. Violas are much more modest and perhaps a bit old-fashioned and prim. I love them,.

  13. Cathy says:

    Loved the Pascal quote about our human problems and will carry it with me (and thoughts of your pansies & pink knicker tree!) this week.

  14. Flighty says:

    Not really my cup of tea so to speak but pretty all the same. xx

    • Chloris says:

      Well I agree they are a bit over-hybridised, I much prefer violas myself. But I had to grow them for my pansy vase. And I do like them in pots.

  15. Always an education! Lovely pansies, lovely little jug too.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Gill. I fell in love with this little jug.I bought it on eBay when I had flu.I always buy jugs when I am not feeling well. And of course, I buy plants when I am well. Which is most of the time.

  16. Sam says:

    Ha ha, our ‘Pink Knicker Blossom Tree’ is dropping her drawers all over our garden too. I’m rather fond of pansies but my husband hates them. Not sure why! Anyway, I love your little jug of them and your detour into philosophy. And it’s lovely to see that you get to sit out and enjoy all your hard work in the garden 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      Maybe your husband thinks that pansies are rather too large, overhybridised and vulgar. Which of course they are. Not as vulgar as the pink knicker blossom tree though.

  17. gardenfancyblog says:

    Chloris, the bright little flowers like pansies are often the most welcome in spring — thanks for sharing their etymology in French, and as well as your lovely spring teatime. -Beth

    • Chloris says:

      Pansies are always bright and cheerful even if their charms are rather obvious. Lazing in the garden is rather a rare occurrence here. We don’t usually get the weather for it.

  18. Cathy says:

    Yes, always an education, as others have said. Thank you for sharing all these snippets and your pansy vase. If I had been not been at my Mum’s over the weekend perhaps I would have sat outside for a while too – I am sure I could have managed 5 minutes… 😉 I definitely need a pretty hat for gardening too…

  19. Chloris says:

    But that’ s not my gardening hat Cathy. That is my lazing about in a floaty dress with a trug hat.

  20. mrsdaffodil says:

    Funny, I just came across the Pascal quote in a detective novel I was reading. In German, the word for pansy is “Stiefmütterchen”: little stepmother. Pansies do have rather sly looking faces, although delightful.

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, my German mother-in-law was very fond of them, but she could never tell me why they had this peculiar name. They really do have faces, don’t they?

  21. Brian Skeys says:

    My kind of gardening, a recliner, tea and biscuits with time to catch up on gardening blogs!

  22. Chloris says:

    It is blissful indeed and I don’t do it very often but it was so hot at the weekend that gardening became just too much like hard work.

  23. snowbird says:

    Goodness me, the things one learns here, fascinating as usual! I did enjoy this, and what a beautiful scene to end on, very paintable! A beautiful vase as

  24. Chloris says:

    Thank you Dina. I wish I could paint. How lovely that would be on a beautiful sunny day.

  25. karen says:

    Lovely stained glass colours. I love the little vase. A perfect match.

  26. I like the cheerfulness of pansies, and their little faces. The common name Heart’s Ease seems apt.

  27. Peter/Outlaw says:

    In any language, they’re sweet little things! Your little jug is perfect for them.

  28. Cathy says:

    This was a fun post Chloris! Love the addition to the quote, and the setting for your vase too! 🙂

  29. Karen says:

    In Spanish, we call them “pensamientos”, which also means “thoughts”. I love the color combination, from bright orange to near purply-black. And I also have to question whether you actually have time to sit down to relax in the garden. I find that whenever I take a seat, my eye catches something that needs improvement, or a new mental gardening plan quicly gets underway!

  30. Pingback: In a vase on Monday. Pensées. — The Blooming Garden –

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