Lonely Little Petunia

I bought petunias today. Just a few to go in the flower pot that blocks the "other" door that lures UPS packages to their abandoned doom. We never use that door and that UPS man insists on leaving packages over there behind a bush. The kids get a thrill out of checking every few days to see if that "crazy man" has hidden anything in the flower-bed! Such is the drama of their sheltered lives.

I started thinking about flowers.

When I was a little girl, my mother let me plant petunias between the front walk and the driveway. I know she loved me because she always wanted red ones but she knew I just adored the hot-pink ones so we invariably ended up with pink.

One year, when I was six and she was desperate, she sent me outside in amazingly moderate February weather with nothing but a pencil and a pack of flower seeds. I told her I was going to plant zinnias in the rocky ground under my bedroom window between the brick and where the grass started. I was a very ambitious gardener. I needed the pencil to gently trace out the rows exactly straight (the way my Dad showed me). The real shock was that the zinnias came up fantastically, even planted two months early. I guess it was a protected spot. My mother and her sisters looked at them and shook their heads in amazement all summer.

My Dad used to call me his "little petunia". When I was in kindergarten, there was a talent show. (Why do they do that to children?) I didn't know what to do, but I was "assigned" a little dance number that I had to choreograph and costume myself. My aunt (who lived next door with my grandparents) was a college professor. She had a friend in the music department who wrote a little song just for me. From scratch. Really. Just for me. I still remember all the words and everything.

I'm a lonely little petunia in an onion patch, an onion patch, an onion patch ...

Aunt Ann made props to go with the little dance by painting cardboard onions that were easily as tall as me. Real petunias wilted too fast to be part of my costume, so my mother used azaela blooms. I was the most serious focused petunia you've ever seen!

My Dad also used to call me his "morning glory". For those of you who have led deprived lives, Morning-glories are vines that usually have blue flowers (occassionally white if you have no sense of style or history). The blooms flare open in an explosion of color at dawn and then close when the full sun hits them. I have eyes the color of Morning-glories. But, the real reason that occured to him is that when I was young I'd wake up in the morning, stagger to the front door to wait in total eye-closed silence, kiss him as he left for work, stand at the window and wave until he was down the drive-way, then head back to bed as fast as I could. My parents thought this was fascinating. No matter how late I went to bed, and in spite of the fact that I had no clock and was too young to tell time anyway.

I'm also especially fond of impatiens. My grandmother used to have the most beautiful impatians planted along the back wall of her house. It was the perfect spot for them. Mostly shady, lightly sunny, well-watered. They were exquisite. I fully expect to plant some impatians next week in the raised flower bed that edges the patio. I love my husband too much to fill it with lilies. His allergies would drive him nuts! Tip for the determined: if you like lilies but have someone in your families with stunningly horrid allergies, you can clip the little-poky things out of the center of the bloom and eliminate most of the strong fragrance and pollen. Thats too hard to do to an entire bed of lilies outdoors.

I had star-gazer lilies in my wedding bouquet, the hot-pink lilies with white trim and ruffled edges. I've just planted two dozen last week. They're sprouting up already! I don't know why I'm always surprised when things actually grow. On the other hand, the dahlias are a total waste. But, to end on an upbeat perky note, I've discovered that our yard has the most beautiful peonies running along the back fence! They're huge. its very possible they're older than I am! Oh, the joy of buying a house with a stunning yard. This is the first time we've seen it in Spring. I'm just going to add a bit of this and that here and there. Its like finding your house completely decorated and adding two or three tiny things because you love them instead of the need to just "get it done". Maybe I'll replace the spirea with lilacs, maybe add a cherry tree by the driveway. I need to find some place for the Shiro yellow plum tree. Its going to be a fabulous summer!

Waves

Lonely Little Petunia: After a spontaneous nostalgia driven Internet search I was very pleased to read in Lucy's island about the origin of this song. When I was around 4 years old (many years ago!) in the town of Ballarat, Australia, I was captivated by a curious and somewhat melancholic song on the radio about onion patches. I quickly taught myself the words and sang the song to myself. For some reason my parents kept insisting that I sing it to all the visitors who came to our home, and there were many. I could never understand why these people always burst in laughter at such a sad song, and I wasn't at all a bad singer. It wasn't until quite some time later when I listened more carefully to the words and discovered that it was actually about "petunias" not "peculiars".

Jon Costa | 07/21/2004 - 02:51 PM

I remember this song from the US television show "Captain Kangaroo"

Lou | 07/25/2004 - 04:12 AM

Lonely Little Petunia was the song we six siblings sang to a crying seventh when the tears were unwarranted. Silly ditty from 1924 I believe.
Saw it last night on Six Feet Under... performed precisely as I remember.

Dan Bolton | 08/02/2004 - 06:38 AM

Wow. I finally return from vacation only to have my memories squashed :) So much for academic integrity! Because while I'm not exactly young, I'm NOT so old that I was born in 1920!

Lucy | 08/20/2004 - 04:14 AM

We sang "I'm a Lonely Little Petunia in an Onion Patch" in chorus when I was a kid at a rural MS grade school in the 1940s. The song struck a chord with me that survives to this day. Trying to find author, composer, publisher, etc. We also sang "Good Night, Irene" which I remember enjoying a great deal, but it never resonated with me like "Petunia."

MS Scott | 10/11/2004 - 02:08 AM

I first heard this song in my seventh grade social studies class. everyone in that class still remembers the words and we often sing them when look back on the good days of MS.

Mandy | 10/28/2004 - 10:50 PM

Wow!!!

My nan used to sing this to me when I was a little girl, I love this song!!!

Brings back many memories x

Gemma | 07/15/2005 - 04:44 PM

I remember this song from when I was a child - my mother sang it to me and told me that Arthur Godfrey had sung it. In recent years when I began singing for local fun jam sessions, I looked up the lyrics and have sung it for others, with many people singing along as they remembered it. I still love it and my granddaughter now knows it and sings it. Talk about a long lasting song!

Kathy | 06/21/2006 - 10:44 PM

THE CBC HAD A PROGRAM CALLED
"THE HAPPY GANG" HEARD WEEKDAYS AT NOON. ONE OF THE GANG WAS A YOUNG VOCALIST NAMED "EDDIE ALLEN". THE 'PETUNIA IN A ONION PATCH' WAS ONE OF LISTENERS FAVORITES. THE REMAINDER OF THE CAST WOULD SUPPORT HIM WITH THE ECHO TYPE SINING.

I, OFTEN, SNEAKED A LISTEN TO THE "GANG" ANDI ATTENDED SEVERAL SHOWS.

WALTER CHARMAN | 06/29/2006 - 06:46 PM

THE CBC HAD A PROGRAM CALLED
"THE HAPPY GANG" HEARD WEEKDAYS AT NOON. ONE OF THE GANG WAS A YOUNG VOCALIST NAMED "EDDIE ALLEN". THE 'PETUNIA IN A ONION PATCH' WAS ONE OF LISTENERS FAVORITES. THE REMAINDER OF THE CAST WOULD SUPPORT HIM WITH THE ECHO TYPE SINING.

I, OFTEN, SNEAKED A LISTEN TO THE "GANG" ANDI ATTENDED SEVERAL SHOWS.

WALTER CHARMAN | 06/29/2006 - 06:47 PM

Of all the saddest words
That I have ever heard
The saddest is the story told me by a bird
He had spent about an hour
A-chatting with a flower
And here's the tale the flower told:

Oooh...

I'm a wonewy wittow petunia in an onion patch
An onion patch, an onion patch,
I'm a wonewy wittow petunia in an onion patch,
And all I do is cry all day

Boo hoo, boo hoo,
The air's so strong it takes my breath away...
Wide ay-way

I'm a wonewy wittow petunia in an onion patch.
Oh, won't you come and play with me?

(instrum.)

Who put me in this bed?
I bet his face is red,
I call him down with every teardrop that I shed
If I only had him here
I'd take him by the ear
And make him share my misery.

My nerves begin to crack
Each time I see a track
Made by a kitty with a stripe upon his back
If he'd ever stop by me
I think I'd rather be
A dead petunia, wouldn't you?

All together, woooah (nuts)

I'm a wonewy wittow petunia in an onion patch
An onion patch, an onion patch,
I'm a wonewy wittow petunia in an onion patch,
And all I do is cry awe day:
B' hoo,hoo
B'hoo hoo hoo hoo,
Oh the air's so strong it takes my breath away,
Wide ay-way...

I'm a wonewy wittow petunia in an onion patch.
Oh, won't you come and pway with me?
I am so gruesome....
Oh, won't you come and pway with me?
My best friends tell me....

Oh, won't you come and pway with me?

[Two-ton baker and the music makers
Album Mairzy Doats 44 wacky hits]

www.pontosdevista.net

wonewy wittow petunia | 12/12/2006 - 11:48 PM

Wonwee wittle??---Don't you know Elmer Fudd is dead?---May He W.I.P.

jerry | 01/18/2007 - 03:07 AM

Sorry to burst your bubble, but your aunt didn't write that song for you. It was copyrighted in 1946. Either they lied to you, or you just don't remember the circumstances correctly.

I'M A LONELY LITTLE PERTUNIA (In An Onion Patch)
Words by Maurie Hartmann and Billy Faber
Music My Maurie Hartmann and Johnny Kamano
Copyright 1946, 1974 Rytvoc Inc.

2/4 Time Key of G Chording G,C,Am7,D7


I'm a Lonely Little Petunia in an onion patch,
an onion patch, an onion patch,
I'm a Lonely Little Petunia in an onion patch
and all I do is cry all day;


Boo-hoo, Boo-hoo,
The air's so strong it takes my breath away.
I'm a Lonely Little Petunia in an onion patch
On won't you come and play with me?

Byron | 11/27/2008 - 05:55 AM

Lonely Little Petunia In An Onion Patch

Of all the saddest words
That I have ever heard
The saddest is the story
Told me by a bird.

He had spent about an hour
A Chatting with a flower
and here’s the tale the flower told……

Oooooooooooh,
I'm a lonely little petunia in an onion patch,
an onion patch, an onion patch.
I'm a lonely little petunia in an onion patch
and all I do is cry all day.
Boo hoo, boo hoo

The air’s so strong it takes my breath away………….
feeeee---you!
I'm a lonely little petunia in an onion patch,
oh won't you come and play with me?

Who put me in this bed?
I'll bet his face is red
I call him down with every teardrop that I shed.

If I only had him here
I'd take him by the ear
And make him share my misery………..

Oooooooooooh,
I'm a lonely little petunia in an onion patch,
an onion patch, an onion patch.

I'm a lonely little petunia in an onion patch
and all I do is cry all day.
Boo hoo, boo hoo

The air’s so strong it takes my breath away…………..
feeeee---you!
I'm a lonely little petunia in an onion patch,
oh won't you come and play with me?


My nerves begin to crack
Each time I see a track
Made by a kitty with a
stripe right down his back.

If he ever stopped by me,
I think I'd rather be
A dead petunia, wouldn't you?

Ooooooooooh,
He’s a lonely little petunia in an onion patch,
an onion patch, an onion patch.
He’s a lonely little petunia in an onion patch.

And all he does is cry all day.
Boo hoo, boo hoo
The air ís so strong it takes my breath away.
feeeee---you!
I'm a lonely little petunia in an onion patch,
oh won't you come and play with me?

Arthur Godfrey, Red Skeleton and the Happy Gang all sang this song at different times.
Music: Lonely Little Petunia In An Onion Patch
Written by:Maurie Hartmann, Billy Faber and Johnny Kamono - © 1946

I remember that we had this song and others on small records that we played and played as kids back in the 1950's.

Jo Jo | 06/05/2009 - 08:14 AM

Yes, I remember it from the '40s, my Mom used to sing it to us a lot. Maybe to make us laugh while Dad was overseas. It was wildly popular, and I'm sure one of the ones who sang it was Arthur Godfrey but there were others. I didn't know there were verses because most of us just sang the chorus! It was around the same time as such songs as "Little Sir Echo", and Ish Kabibble's "Three Liddle Fiddies in an Iddie Biddie Pool" I still sing these to my grandchildren.

Betty | 03/03/2010 - 08:02 PM

you're an idiot.

She | 03/09/2010 - 08:34 PM

I am a caregiver and care for a woman who lives in a retirement village with her husband. This past summer the village gardeners planted petunias and when we went for our walks my lady would try to sing me this song. Indeed, she too reminds me of that lonely petunia.
Maureen

Maureen | 05/08/2011 - 07:07 AM

I remember this song from the 50's and 60's on Captain Kangaroo. I sang it to my sons when they were little - and they are still young enough to live at home. After son long I was amazed I could remember the words and tune.

Melanie | 08/06/2011 - 04:16 AM

I remember this song from the 50's and 60's on Captain Kangaroo. I sang it to my sons when they were little - and they are still young enough to live at home. After so long I was amazed I could remember the words and tune.

Melanie | 08/06/2011 - 04:17 AM

I also love petunias. In ptaricular, I love the Laura Bush petunia, which grows rampant here, and reseeds freely for me. I also found a variety that is very, very hardy, called the Daddy' series. Daddy White, Daddy Pink', etc. etc., and they grow beautifully in winter or summer, if they are in the ground by April 1, or therabouts. Just wonderful flowers!I am so excited about Spring, when I see all the flowers on the blogs!

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