The Violets of March

The Violets of March ****

by Sarah Jio

I’m joining Jain at Food for Thought, a delicious blog for readers with an appetite for the written word.

“In a mystical place where violets bloom out of season and the air is salt drenched, a heartbroken woman stumbles upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author. . .

In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after. Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily’s good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.”

This book is a blooming good read!

 A page turner easily read over a weekend with lots of food for thought~

Flowers+ food+ a good book = a happy recipe for me :)

Violets have a starring role in this book~ signifying something is about to happen:

“Wood violets? I hadn’t seen them since I was a girl, when they appeared one summer in my grandmother’s garden.”

“And to see them in bloom, in March of all months…”


“…hundreds of delicate light green leaves that had pushed up from the soil in grand formation, showcasing a carpet of tiny lavender-colored flowers, with dark purple centers.”

“Many on the island, me included, believed that these flowers had mystical powers, that they could heal wounds of the heart and the body, mend rifts in friendships, even bring about good fortune. I knelt down and ran my hand along the carpet of dusty purple nestled into pale green leaves.”

“They’re very rare…You can’t plant them, for they won’t grow. They have to choose you.”

I had a few challenges with Food for Thought. . .

March came in like a lamb, going out like a lion~ contrary to the expression. We’ve had thunderstorms with torrential rains, lake wind advisories and more recently. . . hail.

Our neighbors have a Cherry Plum tree and underneath to my delight, I discovered violets ~

My plan was to picnic for FFT along with Emily, Jack, and the violets~

I had two failed attempts at picnicking~  by the time I had set up the first time, winds were whipping the water and storm clouds were rolling in. Once the weather cleared and ground had dried, I discovered the violets had been mowed!

Back to the drawing board & book for inspiration~

I decided I’d satisfy my sweet tooth with shortbread cookies, decorated with edible (organic!) violas~

I’ve wanted to try these ever since I saw Yvonne’s beautiful Pansy Shortbread Cookies ~

 I planted a large pot of violas in the fall~ with lots of plans for these edible flowers this spring~

Luckily, I had picked around a dozen or so violas and brought them inside to float in a bowl of water with the intention of experimenting with sugaring them~ 

Mother Nature had other plans and she was not kind to the flowers~

Hail unlike any we have ever seen~ unusual for March~ pelted us last Sunday. The photo the left was taken 12 hours after our storm. Leaves and flowers were shredded and violas~ gone. They’ll rebound but not for a week or two. I was afraid to experiment with crystallizing the ones that I had picked, deciding I’d be safer using them as garnish.

I “grew” a  few flowers few to go with the violas, with help from a box of Jiffy~

I had planned to use my box of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix for my cancelled picnic that Emily and Jack enjoy, along with their fried chicken & potato salad~

 My Nordic Ware Petits Fours Pan that I’ve used before here helped to satisfy my craving for flowers :)

I mixed according to the box directions and baked for 10 – 12 minutes.

And a box of mix yields exactly one pan of 20 cornbread flowers!

What a happy discovery :)

My violas accompany French Toast that Emily & Jack enjoy~

I used Ina’s recipe~ with orange zest, honey, and vanilla added to the egg mixture.

I added some berries, dusted with powdered sugar and garnished with violas~

And added a bee fork for Emily’s Great-Aunt Bee :)

“Neither took their eyes off the petals before them, so fragile, yet in great numbers stalwart and determined.”

“I knew it then: I was in the presence of something much bigger than flowers.”

“Love was not a hothouse flower, forced to reluctant bud. Love was a weed that flashed unexpectedly into bloom on the roadside.”

The Violets of March is a captivating first bloom of a novel, with tangled roots, budding relationships, and plenty of twists and turns.”

~ Claire Cook, bestselling author of Must Love Dogs and Seven Year Switch

If you’re joining in the fun with The Violets of March for FFT, let me know by comment & I’ll add a link back to this post so everyone can enjoy a taste~

Sylvia’s Spring Tea with Crystallized Pansies~

Sarah’s Clam Chowder and Victoria/Bainbridge Island~

Yvette’s Review & Plums in Puff Pastry~

Pam’s Review with Violets~

Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:

Food for Thought~

Foodie Friday~

Rose Vignettes for Fresh-Cut Fridays~

 Seasonal Sundays~

On The Menu Monday~

Alphabe-Thursday~ V for Violets

  38 comments for “The Violets of March

  1. Happier Than A Pig in Mud
    March 29, 2012 at 5:25 am

    Very pretty Mary, I love the colors and the flower pan is cute! Can’t believe you had the hail, this has been the oddest weather! Happy Thursday:@)

  2. March 29, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Mary —
    Oh, my gosh. Your photography is so beautiful. I did a post among the violets last spring, but I had to photograph so early in the morning that the colors were so washed out. THIS is what I wanted…..violets so beautiful they make you ache! You had your trials to capture this post, but, oh my, it was worth it. Thank you for your creativity and devotion to this blog. I also loved your egg hunt! You never disappoint!
    Linda @ A Toile Tale

  3. March 29, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Mary…I can’t even count the number of “sighs” that I made while reading this beautifully written and photographed post…Your posts always tells such a heart warming story with gorgeous visual elements…I am hopping over to Amazon to order that book…How can you not?…you presented it so graciously…I am sure the publisher of that book would love you as a their PR person!

    Have a wonderful day…love the flower pan!

  4. March 29, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I loved your review Mary, much more than I enjoyed reading the book!
    You always have such wonderful photographs, your staging just cannot be bettered!

  5. March 29, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I love coming here to see what’s “new.” Your photos are awesome. Now, of course, I’m starving! Everything looks so delish! The violets are amazing.

  6. Carolyn
    March 29, 2012 at 10:55 am

    You took me back in time when, as a child I would pick wild violet bouquets for my Mom. I savored the moment. Beautiful photos and book review.
    Carolyn NC

  7. March 29, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Mary, your post is stellar regardless of all the trials that crossed the creative path. I had difficulty finding blooming violets myself, but had plenty of violas and pansies. Just used them. Wood violets are so delicate, but such a pretty sight when you find them. How perfect that there is a patch near you on the lake.
    The French toast and petit flower muffins are charming. How I wish they had been on my breakfast plate this morning. ;-)
    Great job! You amaze me with the constant stream of creative efforts. What a treat to visit your blog. ~ Sarah
    I’ll post mine tonight. It’s ready and waiting.

  8. Marilyn the nurse
    March 29, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Mary thisa wonderful post. But all your posts are wonderful. Thank you for such beauty.

  9. March 29, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Oh Mary what a beautiful post and delicious. The closeups of the flowers are gorgeous and your cornbread muffins with the violets are just delightful. I have a question…When are you scheduling your flower and closeup photography classes with tablesetting. I am your first sign up er and I’m ready to come. You are amazing my friend…amazing! You have once again brought a breath of spring to my part of the country. Love it!

  10. Marilyn
    March 29, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I’m so glad you featured Ina’s French Toast recipe today. I now have an additional item to add to the Easter Brunch I’m planning. I certainly hope that I can style this dish as beautifully as you did!

    I also think I need a flower pan! Cornbread flowers…love this idea!

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  11. March 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    finally i can sit down and enjoy your magic, your collages are gorgeous! ladybugs and showering petals even… for a hail storm things look mighty gorgeous there!

    such a pretty shot with the pillow… and even your muffin tin shots are pure art…

    look how cute cornbread can grow!

    and that french toast, just mouthwatering and eye popping! i can tell that will be a beachy breakfast for us this weekend…

    and aunt bee… HOW DID THAT ESCAPE ME!

    oh that was delightful… i am sorry the weather gave you so many fits and starts, but you can always out create nature no matter what she throws your way!

    thanks so much for playing at fft for with me, you have made this year so much fun!

  12. March 29, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Oh Mary, you never cease to amaze me…your beautiful visuals are a wonderful portray of the story, despite the hail and the bed weather …What I really like about you and your posts is that you do not try to follow fashion, but stay true to your subject and that is how you create true art …
    The bee fork simply left me speechless …
    I have already joined Jain for FFT
    Thank you both

  13. March 29, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    I am beyond words…everything I can say has been said above. The photos are exquisite, as usual. I wish I could find the trick to taking such incredible close-ups as you do of your flowers. I’ve tried, believe me, I’ve tried!
    Violets remind me of my grandmother who was born in February…and the violet was her month flower. The French toast looks simply delicious!
    Of course, I am reading this book.

  14. March 29, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Well, I have never seen more beautiful cornbread muffins! You have the ability to elevate the ordinary to the sublime.

  15. March 29, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    That is the most beautiful French toast I’ve ever seen! Beautiful violets to compliment them and those darling petits four corn breads! Yay, spring!

  16. March 29, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    When people ask me what I miss about living on the east coast I always include wild violets on my list. We really don’t have them here in southern California and I miss them. I remember my mom telling me she carried a homemade bouquet of violets when she got married.
    Your photos are gorgeous and I adore the little faces on the violas. I have never thought to make corn muffins in a decorative pan…but WOW! I am definitely going to try that.
    This book just arrived in my mailbox today so I am looking forward to reading it as soon as I finish A Vintage Affair. I always love looking forward to the next book. Thanks so much for such a beautiful post and great ideas.

  17. pam
    March 30, 2012 at 6:34 am

    What a wonderful review and such lovely pictures. I joined (if you could call it that!!), with a review and one picture of my violets! But it’s all I could muster during a busy school year!

  18. March 30, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Mary, so happy to be joining in this month. I really loved reading this book..a long time romantic am I ! French toast would be fabulous sharing it with Emily and Bee, I so love your mixed flower cake pan, I only have roses, but they’re in storage, so I haven’t played with them in ages. Have a lovely day! x

  19. March 31, 2012 at 1:37 am

    It is always a feast for the eyes here! I am always about a book behind! Your flowers are beautiful with the muffins and the French toast. I would love to come over for lunch, brunch, dinner, you name it some day! You always make everything sooooo beautiful.

  20. March 31, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Mary, you have the most talented eye! Your pictures are always so beautiful and truly are ‘eye candy’. I love stopping by to see what gorgeousness you have created.

  21. March 31, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    How do I NOT continue to repeat myself? Each post that you do it a feast for the eyes and tummy!!!!! I MUST get one if those pans. Love your beautifuol pictures, always perfect. Did you hear that we are MOVING???? I am SO excited and up to my armpits in things to do. Haven’t picked up a book in weeks….much to my chagrin. XO, Pinky

  22. April 1, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Mary, Mother nature has been stealing your flowers!!!
    I love violets.. they are such a surprise to find…. like a little treasure.
    Thanks for showing us that even a humble box of jiffy cornbread can look like the most elegant cuisine! And pieces of french toast!!! So beautiful.
    Thanks for bringing a big helping of gorgeous to ON THE MENU MONDAY!

  23. justinecaraway
    April 2, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Stopping by from On the Menu Monday!

  24. Liz
    April 7, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Great review! I’ve jotted the title down for later reading. I love your violets and I have struggled with posts before for too. This one turned out great though! That is a great idea about the jiffy cornbread mix. Totally keeping that in mind. :)
    Thanks for sharing your fun post for Fresh-Cut Friday! :) I’m so glad you did! I hope you have a Blessed Easter weekend.


  25. J
    April 12, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Our book club is reading this book right now. I read the entire book last night/this a.m. and loved it. As an unabashed foodie, I couldnt help googling some of the recipes the book mentioned. I’m in search of the Gordon Green cocktail that Bee made and found your blog on my search. What a joy it was to read and to view. Thanks for brightening my morning!

  26. Riet
    April 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Beautiful flowers and photo’s. I don’t know the book.

  27. April 18, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    They are beautiful flowers at this time of year!

  28. April 19, 2012 at 11:48 am

    You are so good at creating beauty. And I am going to read that book.


  29. April 19, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    I love violets! Your pictures are wonderful, and I always enjoy your book reviews.

  30. April 19, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Beautiful V.

  31. April 20, 2012 at 12:33 am

    Very beautiful! Ilove violets! I also think that french toast looks divine! Thans for sharing.

  32. April 20, 2012 at 3:31 am

    Wow, what an ambitious post! Sounds like an interesting book! I love the purple flower too!

  33. April 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    I put sugared viloets as decoratings on my DIL’s birthday cake one year! They are really delicious!

  34. April 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    great viloet post! Violets are so pretty, are my birth month flower (February), and are edible to boot! I did sugar some onece.
    The book sound very interesting.

  35. April 25, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    This book sounds like a Very good read…

    And I loVe how your flower muffins turned out… Gorgeous!

    These photographs of the Violets and the french toast have such a ViVid color…

    Wonderful post for the letter “V”!


  36. March 16, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Wow, your blog is fantastic! I came across it as I was looking up info on the March Violet on the web. Your pics are wonderful. Glad I came across your blog and following. :-)

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