Wild Violets


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,
Kathryn xoxoo

Footnote: Many thanks to Pomona Belvedere for teaching me this wild violet is formally known as viola odorata. Very helpful!

105 Responses to “Wild Violets”

  1. Hi, Judith and welcome! You can safely mow them and they will come back. They are very hardy. My best guess is that it would be OK to transplant in summer, but you might want to move a few and see what happens first, giving them a bit of time to adjust. They are a strong plant and they will take over an area, which has worked for me. I have a patch in which I plant nasturtiums annually and the wild violets technically “took over” except I can still plant nasturtium seeds among them and then at season’s end I can pull the dead nasturtiums and the wild violets hold the space with green foliage until the next spring. I don’t know when violets bloom in Ohio. You’re going to find out. 🙂 Kathryn xoxo

  2. I got a beautiful surprise this summer.in the midst of a flower pot came a wild violet on its on . i didn’t plant it. Can’t waut to see it bloom.but foliage is beautiful.

  3. Hi, Mary, They are persistent sneaky plants! 😉 They love to move about. How lovely for you! Enjoy! Kathryn xoxo

  4. Just found your website. I love Violets and found mounds of them today everywhere on my property. I so enjoyed just walking around and seeing how many I could find. And, picked a small bouquet for a mini Vase I have . Wonder if this means we will be having a mild Winter after all ? I never seem to have noticed Violets in November before. Hugs , LorieAnn

  5. Hi, LorieAnn, and welcome! Aren’t they a delight? I love small bouquets, too! I tend to think winter will be mild, but we shall have to see. Kathryn xoxo

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