Viola Beauty Pageant-2011/2012

Welcome to the Fourth Annual Fairegarden Viola Beauty Pageant! Before we begin showing this year’s contestants, let us bring everyone up to date on the rules of the contest and the change in the time of the presentation. Begun in the early pre-blogging years of this incarnation of the Fairegarden, the qualities of the self-sown viola volunteers that spring to life in the gravel paths of the knot garden each May were compared and judged by my daughter Semi and me. When the blogging began and the gravel begat yet more gorgeousness, images were captured and readers were invited to vote for their favorites. Names and bios were added for fun and amusement. In 2011, an executive decision was made to snap the photos in May, as always when blooming occurs, but to save the pageantry for January. Seeing the cheerful faces would perhaps help bring joy to gardeners as winter blahs begin to set in, was the thinking behind the change. And now, let us bring on the lovely chosen ones. Ann Marie, the crowned winner of 2010, will anoint the new Fairest of the Faire after a week of voting.

Fiona appears to be a direct result of the addition of new genetic material into the knot garden paths over the last couple of years, the highly variable V. ‘Antique Shades’. The yellow background of the lower petal is unique, there is distinct whiskering that adds to her charms. When not participating in pageants, which she only does to help pay for her further education with the scholarship money, Fiona enjoys kayaking at the nearby Ocoee whitewater rapids that were built for the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. She is studying to be a freshwater marine biologist.

Greta is a sweetheart, showing the seperate yellow and blue coloration of the original flats of violas that were planted in the four quadrants of the knot garden in 2000. What sets her apart from the others is the pouty lips of an upside-down heart in glorious purple. Greta is a creative being, and plans to use the prize money to open a pottery studio that specializes in teaching young children the joy of molding useful and beautiful items from the clay of the Earth.

Fawn is a real beauty with her shades of blue and perky whiskers. Her yellow throat reveals a love of music, for she has a classically trained singing voice, hoping to one day sing at The Met in New York City. She has been compared to the inimitable Leontyne Price in her prime.

Gilda displays interesting pale ears that are ever so lightly brushed with blue at the edges. No wicked witch, this sassy lass does love to be on stage and dreams of joining a traveling troupe of actors who will entertain folks by putting on shows for the price of room and board.

Fleur is a classic beauty with the genetic yellow throat, whiskers and gentle blushing of color on the three lower petals that is shared by many of the offspring in the gravel. Named for the delightful creature who charmed one and all in the wizarding world, Fleur is very down to Earth. Her talents are of the culinary type and she likes to develop recipes to perfection before recording the recipe to be shared online, for free.

Ginger, who bears a close familial resemblance to Fiona, is, what else but a lithe-limbed dancer extraordinaire. Birds do love this little missy, and gladly provide feathers for some of her more elaborate costumes.

Fay in shades of purple and lilac was a favorite of the judges who were choosing the finalists for this post. She is calm and soft spoken, able to ease the cares and pains of life to those who need a gentle guiding to help them find their way. That is a very special gift.

Gayia pronounced Ga-ee-ya, is the spiritual leader of the girls. She is wise and all-knowing and keeps her door unlocked, unafraid of the evil squirrels and voles who would dig up the roots and leave the poor plant out of the ground to dry up and die. I wish she would share her secret power with the humans around here.

Desiree has royalty in her veins, for she is a direct descendant of the 2008 winner of the first blogged about beauty contest, Gypsy. Always a handful, Desiree is a wild one, but with the same sweet disposition, and knockout curves, as her mother.


There you have them, gentle readers. I understand completely the difficulty in picking only one winner, having had to narrow it down to these nine from more than three dozen. Please make your choice and leave a comment with your vote, if you wish to participate. The tally will be made and announced in a week or so. Thank you for joining in this little bit of whimsical fun on a winter’s day.


Added: The winner, Fairest of the Faire for 2012 was Fiona.


Viola Beauty Pageant-2010
Simone, Delilah, Elana, Penny, Ann Marie, Chloe, Jill, Kayleen, Beatrix, Geraldine-Miss Congeniality. Winner-Ann Marie.

Viola Beauty Pageant-2009
Marlene, Blanche, Nadine, Opal, Calypso, Monique, Olivia, Delores, Chrystyne, Loueez, Savannah-Miss Congeniality. Winner-Loueez.

Viola Beauty Pageant
Elspeth, Pearl, Roxey, Isis, Gypsy, Stream, Agnyss, Janet, Chessie, Renata, Inez, Jessica. Winner-Gypsy.

2007 winner-Felicty, pre-blogging


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49 Responses to Viola Beauty Pageant-2011/2012

  1. I’m at a tie, Fairegarden, between Fawn and Greta. But in reality, I love them all. H.

    Thanks Helen. It happens that way sometimes. Each one will get 1/2 of a vote. Thanks for choosing.

  2. Randy says:


    I’ve missed this for 3 years, I’m fairly slack. Enjoyed the show shame you do not have a Orange Duets in your collection, they are my personal favorites. Anyway what a delight on a chilly morning.

    Thanks Randy. These are all self sown volunteers, not purchased or named varieties. This is our rule and helps limit the contestants. We do add new plants that have been bought into the area to help juice up the genetics. We will look for Orange Duets, I love orange.

  3. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You are so right about it being difficult to choose which pansy I think should be queen. This year they all seem to have their whiskers mentioned. Since I too have said whiskers and come from the ‘Antique Shades’ I must vote for Fiona because of her fine whiskering and her seeming familia representation.

    This post is just what this gardener needed on a snowy, blowy cold winter’s day. Winter has finally arrived here in SW IN. Have a great weekend.

    HA Lisa, I hear ya about the whiskers, sad to say! Also hear ya about the cold and blowy, minus the snow, so far anyway. It sounds like the wind wants to take the house down or move it to another location. Your vote is duly noted, thanks for participating!

  4. Barbara H. says:

    It’s Fiona by a whisker. It was a clear choice until I scrolled back up to make sure of her name. Seeing all the contestants again led to multiple ups and downs, but I went with my heart. They are all lovely, lovely talented young ladies!

    Thanks, Barbara, good one! I know they are all worthy, it is hard to choose. Going with your heart is wise.

  5. Wendy says:

    For me, it was a tie between Fiona and Ginger… but I think I’ll mix things up a bit and toss a vote for Ginger, she seems to have all the similar beauty marks… but Ginger seems a bit more exotic in her coloring.. So my vote goes to Miss Ginger!! 🙂

    Thanks you, Wendy, for getting into the proper judge mindset. It is difficult to make a pick, I appreciate your mixing it up!

  6. michaele says:

    Gosh, this is really tough…do I go with subtle charm or obvious flamboyance? Do I let myself be influenced by their extra curricular activities or the sheer merit of their outward appearance? Each one is lovely in her own way but, for this voter, Fiona sings the most clearly delivered “look at me” song. I love her coloring and shape and how she is put together. She is quite fetching in every way.

    Thanks, Micheale, for your thoughtful vote. I try to make their bios equal in merit, but people will still have their preferences. This is really a shallow contest, it’s all about appearance! HA

  7. My Kids Mom says:

    1 Fawn (I love the blues)
    2 Desiree

    Lovelies, all of them!

    Thanks Jill. I will post your vote for Fawn, the second place will be used in case of a tie-breaker.

  8. I go for “Ginger” – her lower petal looks like a sunset during a heavy storm.

    Thanks Green Bench. I agree, she has a weather-related look to her. Interesting how nature makes the color choices and shapes. These are small flowers and tiny plants. The camera helps show the charms of each one.

  9. Marcia says:

    Gilda stole my heart. The combination of those two colors is so soothing. Let her wear the crown for the next year!

    Thanks for joining in the fun, Marcia. Duly noted.

  10. Tanya Goldsmith says:

    Fiona is the winner. My grand daughters name too. (From facebook)

    Thanks Tanya. Your vote has been counted. Lovely name for your grand daughter!

  11. Cindy, MCOK says:

    I wish my violas here would self-hybridize like that! Yours sport the most interesting variations! I vote for Fiona, the most exotic beauty amongst the contenders!

    Thanks Cindy, your vote has been added to the count. I really don’t know why these self sow like they do, nowhere else does this occur and there are violas planted all over the entire garden, around gravel paths, too. Something special happening up in the knot garden, it seems.

  12. Susy says:

    I have to say that Fawn caught my eye , what a beauty. In the language of flowers, Viola’s stand for loving thoughts and you occupy my mind. Fawn is a beautiful representative of those sentiments.

    Thanks Susy. I love the language of the flowers, the violas and pansies have such sweet faces. Your vote has been counted.

  13. Dee says:

    I cannot choose. I am a waffler.~~Dee

    That’s okay, Dee, it is just for fun.

  14. Oh, Fiona without a doubt! So lovely!

    Thanks Joseph. Fiona is taking an early lead!

  15. Rachel says:

    Such Fun! My vote is for Fiona; however, any of the lovelies would be welcome in my gargen. Rachel

    Thanks Rachel. These are all very welcome here, too. I really love them all equally. Honest.

  16. Katie says:

    Love the splotching on Gayia! While Fiona is the eye grabber (and my close second choice) , I’m going to cast my vote for the her in acknowledgement of her higher – and more subtle – beauty!
    This is my second year of following the pageant! I have a few (too few) viola volunteers here at home in Asheville – do you do anything in particular to get these beauties? Thanks for brightening this chill day!

    Thanks for voting and giving this so much thought, Katie! I do not know why these are so good about popping up the gravel paths, but have found that very careful weeding of everything else that also pops up allows the violas to grow and flower much better. Originally there were 36 viola plants, a yellow/blue sorbet mix, a flat, planted in each of the 4 sections of the knot garden, overplanting where white viridiflora tulips were the first things in the ground. When they started looking ratty, I pulled them out of the beds and threw them on the paths until they could all be picked up. The next year we noticed many volunteer plants in the gravel and very few in the beds. That is how it began.

  17. They all have such sweet faces, though Ginger stands out to me.

    Thanks Janet, duly noted. I love looking at the close ups of their faces.

  18. Rose says:

    I’m not a fan of beauty pageants as a rule, especially the ones featuring little tykes made up to look like adults, but I always look forward to your annual viola pageant, Frances. I have to admit I’m influenced as much by their bios as I am by appearance. With that in mind, I’m going to have to cast my vote for Fay–what a sweet soul! Thanks for the day-brightener and the chuckles this morning, Frances. An Arctic blast of cold air has hit us, and there’s nothing but white outside my window today.

    I am with you on the opinion of beauty pageants for humans, Rose, one hundred percent. But this is purely make-believe. Thanks for playing along, your voted has been added to the tally. It is bitter cold here, for us, with no snow. Enjoy your snow and daydreaming of gardens to be!

  19. Leslie says:

    I will vote for Fiona…but I think you are so very fortunate to have so many really lovely contestants!

    Thanks Leslie. It was difficult to whittle them down to these few. We have to go with the best photos, which are not always of the prettiest flowers. I try my best, but sometimes the light is different, the wind is blowing, etc. These will have to do.

  20. Donna B. says:

    I always look forward to this post, but I never have voted before… so here goes!

    Fiona! ♥

    Although the other ladies are just as gorgeous; she takes my vote for the reason that I love the burned orange on the lower petals, the light lilac edging on the upper ones, and how the whiskers change color as it goes up the darker violet parts… Stunning!

    Thanks for voting, Donna, glad to have you as merely a spectator or active participant in the fun! You vote has been added to the count.

  21. Christina says:

    My favorite is Desiree because of her exotic beauty! Even though all contestants are pretty she stands out of the crowd and needs to be appreciated for that. Thanks for a fun post in the middle of winter :-)!

    Thanks Christina, you vote has been noted. I agree, winter is the better time to hold this pageant.

  22. Gail says:

    This is a tough one! They are all outstanding (in the gravel bed) but, like Dee, I can’t choose. Let me mull this over and stop back for a third look! xoxogail

    You have a week to decide Gail. I will wait for your choice.

  23. For me, it was between Fiona and Ginger, and I had to make my decision based on the talent portion of the pageant. Though I enjoyed Fiona’s performance of Amami Alfredo (from La Traviata), I thought Ginger’s interpretation of L’apparition de Giselle (Giselle) was outstanding. (The dancing, that is. I thought the costuming would have benefited from fewer feathers. Do they even have birds in the afterlife?)

    Gayia’s rendition of “On My Way” was also noteworthy, though I question whether a beauty contest is an appropriate place to be performing show tunes about disfigurement.

    Hi Mr. Sub, HA, you are funny as ever! Wading through your comment, I am assuming your vote is for the light-footed Ginger.

    (Yes. Ginger. I may have gotten a little tangled up in trying to find high art pieces that refer to violets.[1])

    [1] The main character of La Traviata is named Violetta; “On My Way” is from the 1997 musical Violet, and performed by its main character, named Violet. Ballets about protagonists named Violet are a lot harder to find.)

    Love those footnotes! Your cleverness sailed high and wide over my little pea sized brain. Thanks for making it more clear. I do appreciate your efforts with the violet theme.

  24. Desiree is my first choice, perfect proportions, smashing colours, contrasting the delicate with strength and beauty.
    Brought to us by a very smart little elemental.

    Thanks Dawn. I had to look that up. Your vote has been added to the count.

  25. Jane Carroll says:

    Ginger…classic beauty and charm…

    Thanks Jane, so noted.

  26. debbie in knoxville says:

    I like Fawn but they are all beautiful.

    Thanks Debbie, duly noted.

  27. Layanee says:

    Since they are all beautiful and have the added advantage of volunteering their colors, I will have to vote for ‘Ginger’ as she is my alter ego.

    Thanks Layanee, I will have to start calling you Ginger. Your vote has been counted.

  28. Vicki says:

    What fun to pore over the lovely ladies this cold and snowy morning in NW Ohio. Violas are one of my favorites and I have a sentimental choice – Fay was my grandmother’s name and she was indeed a peaceful and soft spoken lady. So I vote for gorgeous Fay with Fawn as a close runner up – hard to resist those beautiful blues.

    Thanks Vicki. I knew someone named Fay who was very sweet. Well chosen for a good reason.

  29. Kay Schmid says:

    Gayia appeals to my soul! I guess that that was your point. haha I was referred to your site by Joseph, of Green Sparrow Gardens, and happy I am about it. How much fun to sit here in very snowy Michigan and think about Violas. Thank you.

    Thanks Kay. I try to have something that appeals to everyone! I appreciate your vote and will mark it down.

  30. Marguerite says:

    A very tough choice but Fleur eventually won my heart. I love the dark violet colour and she’s just the right combination of sparkle and class.

    Thanks Marguerite, so noted. I liked those colors, too.

  31. Garden Lily says:

    After scrolling up and down dozens of times – they are all so uniquely delightful! – I vote for Fiona. I love the pink/purple colour in her chin. My next favourites would probably be Fawn and Desiree.

    Thanks for participating, Garden Lily.

  32. Ah, they are all very pretty, Frances. I can’t pick just one! They would be lovely in a bouquet all together. You are right–their smiling, colorful faces are a welcome sight this time of year!

    Sorry you were unable to made a choice, but I appreciate your readership!

  33. Desiree seems like fun but I might end up spending the night in the slammer if we hung out too much. Fiona is my pick – brains over beauty any day!!

    Thanks, Casa. Desiree might get herself into a jam, but is such a charmer she would be able to talk her way out of it. Beauty has its perks. HA Your vote has been counted.

  34. Les says:

    I am glad you moved the event to January, I am sure it will become the highlight of the winter season. At first I thought I would have to vote for Greta, as that is the name of my mother-in-law, but ended up preferring Fiona because we have so much in common.

    Thanks Les. I agree, January seems a much better time for this little bit of fluff. Your vote has been counted!

  35. Gail says:

    Okay, third time to view the contestants and my vote goes with Gilda. I appreciate her understated girl next door good looks; not flashy, and, never too many accessories. She’s the kind of viola that gets a second look and a wow! xogailxo

    Thanks Gail. Gilda is appreciative of your vote!

  36. Carol says:

    Gayia gets my vote. She’s not your typical beauty but has some lovely markings.

    Thanks Carol. Good choice.

  37. Love them all, but I vote for Fay. My new love this year at home is Penny Red Blotch. But I’d love to have them all!

    Thanks Linda. I like those Penny violas, too, use them in containers.

  38. Ronna Moore says:

    It is like trying to choose between children! My favorite child is Fiona! Great pictures.

    Thanks Ronna, it is difficult, I know!

  39. Linda says:

    From the second that I saw Fiona, I knew! She’s incredibly beautiful, but it’s her spirit that got me by the heart. There’s an embracing brightness that I feel, in her. Absolutely my favorite!

    Thank you, Linda, for that enthusiastic endorsement!

  40. Oh they are all so beautiful and it was hard just to pick one but my favorite is Fiona,

    Thanks Alicia, your choice has been recorded.

  41. David says:

    I vote Desiree and here’s why: color A+ form & symmetry A+ boldness A+ extra verve: yes, she has a tiny glowing edge! David

    Thanks David!

  42. What a delight in the deep of winter to see these cheery faces. I thought I was the only one who got viola volunteers. Mine are all escapees from planters over the years. I can’t wait to see if any have mutated as yours have. But to choose………After wearing out the up and down bar, I choose Fleur for her deep purple loveliness.
    And her willingness to share her talents.

    Thanks Georgie, I am so happy you are getting volunteers, as well. They are such a surprise and we never know what they are going to look like. I did start adding some different colors in the area to sort of nudge away from strictly blue and yellow and it is now showing up. Your vote has been counted.

  43. Mary says:

    My first pick would be Fiona, followed by Fawn, but they are all very lovely.

    Thanks for voting, Mary. Your pick has been added to the count.

  44. Karen Bell says:

    Oh Beauties All!
    Makes me want to create a gravel garden for my very own Viola Queens!!! Who could not love a garden filled with Violas!!! Fortunately for me they Love the Califonia Coast!
    Vote for one? Nay!
    I Vote for More!!!

    Thanks Karen. I love violas too, we just can’t have enough of them. Here in SE TN, they are planted in fall and will last until the heat of June bakes them. The volunteers bloom in May, then also get fried by the summer, but live long enough to set seed. They do love that gravel.

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  46. All the girls are beauties!
    It is a difficult decision………… my vote goes to Fleur.
    Best wishes to all the contestants!
    Oops! i didn’t read all the comments – I didn’t realize this contest was already over.
    They are all winners to me!

    Thanks Lea! Fleur was an overwhelming winner in this contest. I appreciate your vote, even late!

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