The sweet - and simple - viola

I've already been browsing at my neighborhood garden center. How about you? I went looking for vegetable starts and ended my visit in the viola aisle. How gorgeous are these little things? This time of year gets the heart rate up for lettuce seeds (going in this weekend) and chard seedlings - and leeks and broccoli and, for the first time, celery. But for plain old cuteness and color, nothing beats the viola in my book.

And, it seems to me, there are more varieties on the market lately with petals in lovely shades of orange, cream, purple and yellow. I didn't buy any of the ones I saw this week, but once the veggies are in, I just might wander back and get some to fill in.


This was all by way of therapy - my annual Flower Show rehab, when I get a few days off to compensate for the crazy hours and sore feet sustained over 12 days straight of set-up and show.

Speaking of show, I continue to get emails and unsolicited (and some solicited) opinoins about Hawaii: Islands of Aloha, and it seems to me - unscientifically speaking - that this show, more than most, generated a great deal of conflicting opinions.

Some loved it. Many, or maybe it's just these folks seeking me out, were indifferent or negative about the theme. You'd think Hawaii, for heaven's sake, would be popular, with the orchids (America's number one potted plant), the palm trees, the inviting water features ...

Well, not for me to say. The crowds were big - 270,000. So was the show floor - 10 acres' worth. Surely, there was something for everyone in there. I appreciated the time off afterwards, believe me. Gave me time to free my head of obligation and enjoy simple thoughts - lettuce, celery, violas ...