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Flowers add so much to our world. They feed the bees and other pollinators. They are beautiful. Some smell so good that they are used in perfume, lotion and other body products.

Many parents name their daughters after flowers. Popular ones are Daisy, Rose, Lily, Jasmine, Heather, Holly and Violet.

On today’s program we are going to talk about that last one -- Violet.

The name Violet is found in an English expression. A shrinking violet describes someone who is very shy.

Oh, my shrinking violet
I left my basket of impatience at your door
I brought my tulips for your two lips
But the bulb don't burn anymore

Shrinking violets are not bold. They are afraid to speak their minds. When faced with a difficult situation, a shrinking violet seems to get smaller. They shrink away from the problem.

Another adjective to describe a shrinking violet is modest. They do not like to be the center of attention.

However, we often use this expression to describe people who are the opposite of modest, shy and fearful. And we often say it in a special way. We say that someone is “no shrinking violet” instead of saying “not a shrinking violet.”

Let me give you an example. My friend Olga loves to perform. She is a great singer. And she’s no shrinking violet! If there is a party, you don’t need to ask her twice to sing for a crowd. Just give her a microphone and an audience and she is ready to perform! Now that I think of it, she doesn’t even need a microphone … or an audience.

She’s also no shrinking violet when it comes to sharing her thoughts. You always know where you stand with Olga. To know where you stand with someone means you know how they feel about things -- and how they feel about you. They share their thoughts and feelings freely.

Now, let’s talk about another flower -- the wallflower.

If you look up “wallflower” in the dictionary, you might get confused. Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary says wallflowers are hardy herbs often grown for their showy, sweet-smelling flowers.

They are even able to grow in extremely small cracks in walls. That is where they get their name -- wallflower.

In nature, wallflowers may be “showy” -- or have a very noticeable appearance. But strangely, people who are described as wallflowers are not showy. In fact, a person who is a wallflower is the opposite!

Like shrinking violets, these people are also quiet and shy. At a party, a wallflower can be found standing against the wall, watching the fun from a distance. They stay apart from other people -- waiting for someone to talk to them or ask them to dance.


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