Wild about Violas

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We like to candy viola petals for cake decorations and press especially pretty faces for floral notes on stiff cards; in the language of flowers, pansy, from the French pensée, means “a thought” (usually a sad one).

Candied petals

Lay fresh, unblemished petals on doubled sheets of waxed paper. Brush the front surface with egg white beaten with a little water, then sprinkle the surface with sugar; repeat on the back surface. Place the petals on clean waxed paper and turn daily until they are dry to the touch. We like to use them as soon as possible, but they can be stored in paper-lined boxes for a few weeks.

Pressed floral cards

Faces with some dark petals show up best when dried. Spread them flat on a thick layer of newspaper; cover them with another layer, then with heavy weights, and leave until completely dry. Carefully pick off the flowers and store them in a marked envelope until ready to use. Lightly dab the card with glue where you want the pansy to be, then gently press it in; add other flowers such as roses for love, lady’s mantle for comfort, mint for wisdom, horehound for health, and rosemary for remembrance; with a fine pen identify each pressed flower or leaf and its meaning, weaving your writing to fit around the plants; seal the card by covering it firmly with plastic wrap.

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