Monday, July 14, 2008

Violets , Viola odorata

Viola odorata, Violet
"Violets dim,
But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes."
Winter's Tale.IV. iv.

On a warm Winters day like today the air was pervasive with the scent of Violets
I grow the very common one and it has moved around with me from place to place as I consider it an essential garden plant. I like the fact it needs virtually no attention to perform well and that it usually comes up in unexpected spots often where it ends up being walked on or driven over.
What holds true today , is that "Violets love a lean ground under hedges" This quote is from a book called "The Dutch Gardener" written in 1711 by Henry van Oosten.If you give them rich soil and fertilizer all you get is lush foliage and no flowers. In the Nursery trade, it is often hard to find good perfumed Violets. A dark purple variety with stiff glossy leaves and large flowers is readily available but it lacks scent.The Palma Violet (Violette de Palme) which is originally from Italy and the French Riviera ,is sometimes seen as well .I have grown double flowering forms and white and pink flowering varieties but they don't seem as tough as the common one.Of course the flowers are edible ,and when brushed with egg white and dusted with fine sugar they make a sophisticated addition or decoration to cakes and desserts .

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