a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

Helen Georgia Violet


< by Jill >

Violets remind me of my grandmother, Helen Georgia Violet. They’re feminine and sweet, available at your local grocer for about $5. Now and then, I see one of those tiny violets and can’t leave the store without it. On one such occasion, I took home a beautiful specimen in full bloom, with purple blossoms and furry, crisp leaves. I transferred it to a larger pot and watered it daily.

A week later, it died—the blossoms dried up and cracked off, the leaves lost their strength and flopped over the sides of the pot. I tried repotting and backing off on the water, but it was no use. The violet became compost. I sent up a prayer and asked God to tell my grandma I was sorry for killing the violet.

A few weeks and youtube videos later, I felt ready to rear another young violet. I picked out a variegated type with purple and white blossoms and transplanted it into a larger vessel with plenty of space and soil. This time, I watered with a custom-made cocktail of liquid fertilizer. I sheared away perfectly strong leaves to make space for new ones. I trimmed away weak buds.

Today, each time it blooms, it unfurls a new combination of colors. Whether all white, all purple, or a mix, the blooms encourage me to keep at the task of pruning, watering, and mixing up violet food. It makes me feel connected to my grandma, who’s no doubt up in heaven tending that poor, unfortunate violet I snuffed.


  Kathy wrote @

Lovely story, Jill. It reminds me of Gil’s mom, who had a bay window filled with beautiful violets that she’d had for years. I, on the other hand, have never had much luck with them. Maybe I’ll give them another try!

  abreakfastserial wrote @

Thanks, Kathy! It took me a while to figure out the right balance of watering and pruning, but youtube videos really helped with that.

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