Ahh, here they are again. My absolute, hands-down favorite fall flower, the pansy. I LOVE their little faces, freckled and individual as they are, no two quite alike.

I even love it when they go to seed all over the garden and pop up to brighten unexpected corners throughout the winter. It makes me happy just to look at their bright, uncomplicated colors and the way they crowd cheerfully together as if each cluster is creating its own pansy party. They don’t need to smell good, and they don’t need to make a good cut flower. I don’t need to see them inside the house. It’s the way they perk me up on the grayest, most unremittingly drizzling, bone-chilling morning that makes them worth their weight in gold.

I confess that I usually succumb to one or two unusual color combinations like those above, or to the ruffled petals that characterize some varieties.

But it is the old-fashioned classics with their sweet little monkey faces that draw me in again and again, every autumn without fail.

In my quilting days, I even memorialized the pansy in my first Baltimore album quilt. The little fabric replicas below are pretty much life-sized, measuring about 1 1/2″ across at their widest points. I still remember how much fun I had choosing the perfect combination of fabrics to approximate pansy colors, and finding the tiny beads that would stand in for stamen. That quilt took me nearly four years to complete, and when I look at it today, it is the pansies I see first. They still make me smile.

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