As of this writing, I have just received an order of viola odorata plants. I was very surprised by the excellent quality of the plants, which were large, healthy, and well secured in their pots. I recently received violets from other nurseries, and those simply cannot compare with the ones sent me by Gardens in the Wood.
Thank you for the outstanding plants. (Received from Sam in Tennessee)
Dottie, I received my violets on Wednesday. They are large and healthy and arrived in perfect condition. Thanks! (Teresa in Kentucky)
This diminutive, trailing violet, with blooms of purple and white, is suited
for warmer climates where it puts on a show from summer well into fall. In fact, it has bloomed in my greenhouse 12 months of the year, which is very good news for those in the right zones. Viola hederacea (Australian Violet) isn't too fussy about soil, although I have found it doesn't like soil that is bone dry. I haven't tried it yet, but this pretty perennial violet might be a good candidate for a potted plant - hanging or just sitting on a porch - in cooler climates and then moved inside for winter protection. Note: I unintentionally left several pots of this tender trailing violet outside here in Zone 6, and they made it through several heavy frosts, so maybe they are not as tender as one might think.) Shade. Zones 8-9. Quarts.
I am so happy to have this lovely little violet. I once purchased some perennials for my garden and seeds must have come in with those plants, as the nursery I purchased them from also sold this violet. I didn't know what violet it was when it bloomed for the first time, but I knew I liked it. I didn't save seeds then, but every now and then year after year, I'd find one of these violets blooming in a pot of another plant and two times in in the greenhouse floor. I began saving seeds and sowing them and contacted the nursery that once sold it and asked what it was. Well, this is it, commonly called "Fuji Dawn." When "Fuji Dawn" is young, its green leaves are suffused with cream and sometimes pink. Look here to see the young variegated leaves: http://www.io-net.com/violet/violet1/sumire_nisiki%28e%29.htm . As the violets mature, and certainly by summer, the leaves will be all green. But not to worry, the lovely little violet bloom is an eye-catcher, too. It's not big and splashy and has little curb appeal, but it is dainty and totally endearing. "Fuji Dawn" grows to about four inches in full to part sun, well-drained soil, and is hardy to Zone 3. (Photo by E-190 (E-190's file) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons)
Note: The nursery had to close early this year when violets would have been for sale again. Look for them to open up again in 2018 with some new ones added.
Viola odorata "Alba Plena," also known as "Swanley White," is a very old Parma violet, the violets known for their perfume. "Alba Plena" is a double, crisp white violet. Although Parmas are not as hardy as other Viola odorata varieties, they should survive to 20 degrees F. with mulch or shelter. If you live in a colder zone, they make excellent pot plants - one will perfume an entire room. Rich, well-drained soil, and dappled shade in Zones 7-9. Quarts.
(Baroness de Rothschild, France, 1894)
According to Roy E. Coombs' Violets, The History and Cultivation of Scented Violets, published in 1981, the proper name of this violet is probably "Baronne Alice de Rothschild." In any case, he also writes that this early bloomer, with giant mid-bluish purple blooms atop long stems is "thoroughly recommended."
New for 2017
"Carol Lockton" is a lovely decidedly blue violet, not to be confused with any other. Here is what the American Violet Society says about "Carol Lockton":
Carol Lockton’ - A chance seedling of Viola odorata ‘Opera’ grown by Clive Groves of England. Large flowers with a wide face and distinctive mid mauve/blue colour (94B of the RHS colour chart). The spur is mauve in colour and often paler than the flowers. Flowers are borne on medium length stems and have good scent. Heart shaped, green leaves are found on medium vigorous plant with a mound forming growth habit. First exhibited during the 2nd International Violet Contest organised by Les Amis de la Violette, France. This contest was part of the 8th International Violet Meeting, held in February of 2007 at the Escola Superior Agrária de Béjà, Portugal.
Sounds impressive, and it is.
(Millet, France, 1916)
A cross between "Rubra" and "Le Lilas," Roy Coombs describes "Coeur d'Alsace" as "unique rosy-salmon," There is an interesting account of its origin in Roy Coombs' Violets, The History and Cultivation of Scented Violets. Zones 4-9. Quarts.
New for Spring, 2017
(Casbas, France, 1991)
Not to be confused with the Viola "Columbine," which is not a Viola odorata. "Colombine" is considered a cross between "Czar" and forms of "Quatre Saisons," sky blue with a pronounced white center. It is lovelier than ever imagined, hoped for, or photographed.
(C. W. Groves & Son)
This is a vigorous violet, white tinged with pink and that little pink in the back remains throughout the life of the bloom . Delicate and beautiful. I grew this one mainly for its name, but old Dick o' the Hills has become a personal favorite. Quarts.
It has taken several years for me to get just a handful of this lovely pink/lavender violet. I had them so long that I'd totally forgotten about them until one day in late winter when they all were blooming at the same time. What a surprise, what a shock, what perseverance (for the violet and for me).. I hope it will grow faster for you than it has for me. Beautifully double and scented. Double Rose de Bruant is hardier than the Parma violets, but it will still need protection in temperatures below 20 degrees F.
One per customer until stock grows.
Viola odorata "Duchesse de Parme," first cultivated in Parma, Italy in the 16th Century, is said to be named for Napoleon's second wife, a great admirer of scented violets. Parma violets are the most fragrant of the scented violets, and this one is no exception, and its double blooms are a beautiful lavender with a white centers. Viola odorata "Duchesse de Parme" is one of the easiest scented violets to grow, and with its six-inch stems, the blooms are ideal for making bouquets. Parma violets are not as cold hardy as some other varieties of Viola odorata - to 20 degrees F. without cover - and bloom from winter to spring and again in fall. Although sun is often recommended for violets, I can tell you from experience that dappled shade is best in summer, but they do appreciate a little extra sun in winter. It's a perfect candidate for a container if you live in colder zones. Rich, well-drained soil in Zones 7a-9. Quarts.
New for 2017
Canyon Creek Nursery, 1986
This violet was sent to me by a generous customer in California. It has been around since 1986 and is lilac pink with violet veining at center and a very strong grower. From what I have seen so far, it is remarkably like "Orchid Pink" from Groves Nursery and listed below.
This is the largest of the "white" single violets, a strong grower, and suitable for cutting. It is indeed ivory, with a soft yellowing towards the center; it is lightly scented. "Lee's Ivory" is described by Groves Nursery as "medium sized, with green and ivory tinge and purple spurs". Zones 5 (?)-9. Quarts.
I am not sure how this violet earned its name, as I detect no sign of peach in the photo or the actual blooms, but it's still a lovely violet and an old one. In fact, the more I see it in bloom, the more it is becoming a favorite. If one were to create a paint this color, I can't imagine how it would be done - it's most unusual. It is reputed to be a vigorous grower, but that has not been the case so far. Zones 4-9. Quarts.
(C. W. Groves & Son, 1989)
This beautiful, bright sugar pink violet, with darker pink splotches on each petal, was a most pleasant surprise when it bloomed for the first time. It is a Clives Groves violet, named for his mother in 1989, and a sport of Coeur d'Alsace." It's dainty, growing from three to six inches, but it makes up for it with its unique color, free flowering, and heady fragrance. It blooms spring and fall and grows by seeds and runners. Zones 4-9. Quart.
This is one of the prettiest violets I grow, but it never gets a lot of attention because it is not "named." The blooms are larger than most, a beautiful mauve, and the fragrance is right on. Because I think it suffers from not having its own identity, I've chosen to give it one: "Irene Fretwell." This is the maiden name of my paternal grandmother, and I think the name suits this lovely violet., and I think the violet would have suited Irene. Quarts.
I didn't know what to expect with a name like "Little Plum," but certainly not this beautiful rose/lavender/pink. I will try to get a better photo as time goes on, but the outer bloom is a lilac pink/orchid, and the center is a deeper rose. It's hard to describe, but it is in every way an unexpected delight and gem.
(Margery Fish, 1960)
Described by Roy E. Coombs in his Violets, The History & Cultivation of Scented Violets (1981) as "palest mauve, deepening towards the centre. An unusual and beautiful violet." My description: Whisper pink with violet striations at center and a yellow eye. Quarts. Zones 5 (?)-9.
Viola odorata "Queen Charlotte" grows to about five inches with heart-shaped leaves and dainty deep blue/purple, perfumed blooms that, like a queen, look up. "Queen Charlotte's" flowers are a tad smaller than those of "Rosina" and "Clive Groves" but they make up for it with lots of them. Zones 5-8. Quarts.
(1865) "Marie Louise," named after Marie Louisa, the second wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, is considered the hardiest of the Parma's, although I cannot vouch for this. It is quite similar to "Duchesse de Parme," but the blooms are a little larger, and the lavender is much deeper and referred to as "violet-mauve" by Ray Coombs. Note: "Marie Louise" is often described as often having a red streak on its petals, but this has been disputed, and it is generally agreed that the red streak actually belongs to another violet, "New York." I have never seen a red streak on any of its petals. It is highly scented. Part shade to full shade (sun in winter), and rich, moist, well-drained soil. Zones 6-9. Quarts.
(John Whitlesey, California, 1998)
It has been difficult to get an accurate photo of this crimson violet, but the striking color shown here is just about right. I don't think I've seen another violet this shade, and the scent is right on. This violet does not come true from seed. Look below at what a little Reid's Crimson Carpet (or any other violet) can do for a blueberry trifle pudding. For that and more great cooking ideas than I ever thought possible, visit Kitchen Lane. Photo from Kitchen Lane and used with permission. Zones 5-9. Quarts.
I thought that with the word, "neige," (French for snow) in the name of this scented violet (French for "snow"), this would be a white bloomer, and it is, sort of. On the same plant, sometimes the blooms are pure white; other times, like at left, they are pale lavender. Either way, this violet is lovely, and the heady perfume is still there, regardless of the color. Zones 5-9. Quarts.
According to Roy Coombs, this is the selected form of the pink Viola odorata rosea. It has been used as a market cut flower and was very popular in the 1920's and 1930's. It won the RHS Award of Merit in 1900. The perfumed blooms of this clump-forming native of Europe and Asia are medium pink with a splash of deep pink in the center. Protect this violet from heavy freezes with mulch or pine straw if planting outside. Violets don't like extreme heat, so placement in a place with plenty of shade is a good idea. For indoor planting, clay pots work best for good root development. Direct sun is beneficial, as is placement near a window, with nighttime temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees F. to induce and maintain blooms. Violets may be kept intact by snipping off runners. For more information about all violets and their care and uses, visit the American Violet Society website. Zones 5-8. Quarts.
(Pawla, USA, 1947)
Large, deep blue/purple and suitable for cutting. I've also noticed that it has the prettiest, heart-shaped foliage of any of the violets I grow and is less susceptible to red spider mites. It is lightly fragrant. This one seems not to send out runners but is, rather, clump forming. Quarts.
First, let me be perfectly honest. There is a lot of talk about whether or not this Viola odorata sulphurea has a scent. I'm here to tell you that it does not, but that's not why I wanted to grow it. I grew it instead for its lovely color: the palest of yellow or straw, with apricot towards the center. That should make up for its lack of scent in abundance. This lovely little unscented Violet grows to about six inches tall and withstands dry shade, as well as a damp spot. It is perfect for naturalizing, cutting, and it is a honeybee food. Zones 5-9. Quarts.
Heart-shaped leaves and brilliant yellow blooms with violet striations in the throat adorn this native violet from March to June. It grows from four to 12 inches tall in Zones 3-6.
(Photo by Robert H. Mohlenbrock, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA SCS. 1991. Southern wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species. South National Technical Center, Fort Worth. In the public domain.)