In winter the gardener’s eye is scanning the landscape for anything and everything that will fill our enormous desire for the beauty to which we are treated all summer. And thus one is inclined to see what might otherwise have been lost in the splendor of roses and hydrangea, of trumpet vine and forsythia. Attention now focuses here on the lowly wild violet. I cherish this time of year as there is a large section of the front lawn that bursts with these tiny purple treasures and I delight in their beauty, fortitude, and resilience. But until this week I have to admit to having taken them for granted. Indeed, the only moment they really had placed themselves squarely on my inner radar was when I was researching butterfly habitat last summer, and made a mental note that the wild violet was hospitable to the eggs of the fritillary butterfly. I was glad to make note of their pragmatic presence.
In the many years I have been on this property I have let the violets spread where they will. I actually welcomed them into the crevices between the flagstone pavers I’d put down in front of the rose arbor. I thanked them, and they obligingly spread about.
Charmingly, they kept a pinkish lavender violet company which I’d purchased at a local nursery.
How did one end up in a pot for which I paid money, and one become part of the natural landscape? You tell me! Of course I assume the pink one is a hybrid. But the wild violet? How did it end up here? I have no idea. I know it’s tenacious. That answers many questions.
When I began to research the wild violet I was shocked and appalled and saddened to see how many references were regarding how to get rid of it. How to Remove Wild Violets from Your Lawn. Enter poisons, though even poisons apparently are not that effective. More aggressive than even I anticipated. But so not where I wanted to go with this post. My intention is to praise its beauty and express my gratitude that it has chosen to live here and delight my senses. And be a host to the lovely fritillary butterfly. Yes, I like that much better. Thank you.
For violets suit when home birds build and sing,
Not when the outbound bird a passage cleaves;
Not with dry stubble of mown harvest sheaves,
But when the green world buds to blossoming.
~Christina Georgina Rossetti
Probably one reason violets so appeal to me is that I am completely enchanted by small bouquets. Violets lend themselves perfectly to this passion of mine.
How very dear, indeed.
Love and winter gardening blessings,
Footnote: Many thanks to Pomona Belvedere for teaching me this wild violet is formally known as viola odorata. Very helpful!
Posted on January 26th, 2010 by Kathryn
Filed under: Plants