Monday, April 27, 2015

Wood Violets


One of my favorite flowers is the wood violet. It may not be very big but it certainly sends out a lot of very fragrant, heady perfume. Not only do violets have this wonderful odor, they bloom and smell good in winter in the southwestern states, and in early spring in other parts of the United States. In fact I found my first one this winter on New Year’s Day. One doesn’t expect to find flowers, let alone such a wonderful perfume, from such a small, usually unnoticed plant.

There are lots of different kinds of violets, or violas, which are kin to the pansy, and they come in several different colors from white, and yellow to light purple and dark purple. Wood violets seem to have the sweetest odor of any I have smelled. I got my start from my mom and she got hers from her mom, and that’s going back some fifty years so I couldn’t say for sure which verity it actually is. They grow rapidly from seed and are easy to start from division of clumps. Some people think that violets can become a pest if not kept under control. I try to keep mine in beds or containers where they won’t choke out other plants that I want. Wood violets are larger than the wild violets but not near as big as a pansy and are a deep purple in color.

Violets of all kinds do well in containers or pots. Wood violets, by themselves, take very little care except for water in the summer. They do prefer a bit of shade for part of the day as they are not real fond of the hot sun of the southern states. A few annuals added to the container, or bed of violets can add color and height during the summer. Before you plant your violets add some bulbs to the pot like windflowers, or grape hyacinths that will come up year after year along with the violets. They may not bloom at the same time but the violet leaves will add verity to the container or flower bed that you plant.

Wood violets make a nice cut flower for a tiny vase or with other flowers. A pot of violets makes a great gift at any time especially for the beginning gardener. I have heard of people picking violets and candying them to make decorations for cakes and cookies, but have never tried it myself.

I have let my wood violets take over a small flower bed right by my front door. I know that this wonderful little flower will greet me and my visitors with a lovely sight and a profusion of perfume for about 6 weeks each spring. Following the spring blooming period violets put on lots of heart shaped leaves. These leaves look nice in the flower bed, and can add interest to a bouquet of flowers.

Wood violets might be the right flower for you to consider adding to your flower collection.

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