Hardenbergia violaceae, the Happy Wanderer

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This smallish evergreen vine, also known as the Happy Wanderer, is in bloom around town, always a surprising sight for February. It’s a tough little number in the pea family from eastern Australia that lays low all year, unnoticed, in hard-scrabble conditions in chain-link-fenced yards, then bursts into improbably purple bloom late winter. I feel sadistically compelled to share a musical association that comes to mind when this cheerful vine is in bloom, a tune I sang with earnest enthusiasm in grade school called, what else, the Happy Wanderer. I’d always assumed that one of the teachers at my school wrote it herself, jotting it down about five minutes before music class on the desk blotter, but I see now that it’s been a favorite of Boy Scouts everywhere, not to mention a beloved folk song of Germany.

Sample lyrics:

Oh, may I go a-wandering
Until the day I die!
Oh, may I always laugh and sing,
Beneath God’s clear blue sky!

I think there may have been some yodeling involved too. For the melody styled by the accordion, have a listen here.

(You’re welcome.)

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A nice little vine that, in my mind, will forever be intertwined with yodeling.

The Muppets covered it here.

Australian Native Plants Nursery, long at the top of my list for a day trip, provides pertinent stats on this vine here.

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1 Response to Hardenbergia violaceae, the Happy Wanderer

  1. sweetbay says:

    Love all of those purple flowers!

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