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For the sake of violets:
A tribute to Pippa Fog

By Norma Beredjiklian, AVS Vice President – East Coast/USA

     I met Pippa Fog in May of 1995, when she came by to witness a small group of “violet” ladies gathered in Washington, DC quite intent on holding the first annual meeting of The American Violet Society (known at that time as the International Violet Association). She joined the fledgling organization on the spot, simply, she said, for the “sake of violets.”
Pippa Fog Rememberance Card

Pippa Fog 1937 - 2001

     Born in England, Pippa spent most of her childhood in India and acquired a passion and understanding for different cultures and languages. She and her husband Mogens lived abroad and in many different areas in the U.S before settling in Washington, D.C. where their home was open to hundreds of friends, locals or visiting from all over the globe.

     In the Washington, DC community, Pippa was widely known as a superb gardener and a committed member with the local chapter of The Herb Society of America through which she volunteered her garden expertise in the development of a number of community gardens across the metropolitan area. Her love of violets was legendary as she would enthusiastically spread the word about them and promote its cultivation. In fact, she was instrumental in encouraging Janet Walker (AVS Board Member and Director of Agriculture at The American Horticultural Society) to create a violet garden at the society’s lovely grounds in Virginia. Moreover, she supplied most of the violet plants growing there now from her own garden.

     Many among us remember Pippa’s jovial presence and no-nonsense attitude. Quite in character she displayed those same traits throughout her courageous battle with cancer, and even two days before her passing she was directing family and friends in needed garden work at her own home.

     Although I knew Pippa for a few years, I greatly admired and counted her among my dearest friends. When I think of her now, I cannot help but associate the words of the young Japanese poet, Madoka Mayuzumi with what is in my mind and heart, Pippa’s legacy.


Today a different person bends over the violet.
Madoka Mayuzumi
(b. 1965)
(From: Poems of 17 syllables)


There is a lovely violet blooming in the same place every day.
Travelers and children find this little violet, bend over and admire it,
and then, they pass on by.

To each person this may be a simple encounter,
But, to the violet, yesterday, today and everyday
are a series of encounters with the people who find it and
bend over to look at it more closely.

Although a violet's life is brief and ends in a few days,
it gives pleasure and comfort to many people.
I wonder how many people felt the visit of the warm spring from this little violet.



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