Viola Odorata: Sweet Violets


This picture of sweet violets was taken with my iPhone: it’s a blessing to be able to have it with me for moments like these. The heart shaped leaves are scrolled up, perhaps  to funnel rain water down to the roots and the scented flowers are tiny but radiant. This is a quintessential cottage garden flower for me and I love to see posies made with them.

It’s clear this patch is thriving from all the little seedlings partly hidden under the leaves – you can just glimpse them towards the foreground. In England their natural habitat is dwindling, so I always give a double take when I hear gardeners describing these little jewels as weeds. Perhaps it’s a pride-in-your-lawn kind of thing.

I can’t imagine a lawn that would not look prettier with a scattering of violets, but it wouldn’t do for us all to think alike.


30 thoughts on “Viola Odorata: Sweet Violets

  1. The Frustrated Gardener says:

    If violets are weeds then they are most welcome ones! I love them, and can’t resist picking a few if they are abundant enough. Great shot, taken at just the right moment. A few days longer and the leaves might have grown taller than the flowers.

  2. solsdottir says:

    They were one of the few things I tolerated in my lawn. Although even dandelions have their moments.

      • Laurie Graves says:

        In Maine, we have tiny flowers called bluets that will soon be in bloom on our lawn. I’m hoping my creaky knees will allow me to get down on the ground so that I can get a good shot.

  3. barryboone says:

    The poet Ella Wilcox wrote “A weed is but an unloved flower.” But now that you’ve loved these violets and shared them with the world, _these_ violets can no longer be considered weeds.

  4. amosgirl says:

    so lovely. My mother had them growing in the cracks of her brickwork in the backyard when I was a child. They always make me happy to see them. NOT WEEDS.

  5. Eliza Waters says:

    My lawn is full of white and purple violets (among many other flowers like veronica, gil-over-the-ground and dandelions) and I love it when the violets bloom thickly – I always feel like having a party to celebrate. 🙂

    • susurrus says:

      It sounds wonderful. I hadn’t heard of gil-over-the-ground but my sweetheart says I have seen it and his great-grandmother had a lawn made from it.

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Of the mint family, it has tiny violet flowers, and like mint is near impossible to eliminate once it creeps into the garden. But I don’t mind it in the lawn.

  6. margaret21 says:

    This reminds us of France, where violets tumbled all over every spare piece of ground at this time of year. Here, they seem much rarer, and those I see are white. Which seems wrong somehow. Violets should be … violet.

    • susurrus says:

      I quite like seeing a mix of colours (including the freckled one) but I know what you mean. It’s like having crimson and white ‘pinks’.

  7. FlowerAlley says:

    I had a bank of violets one spring. My husband wanted to spray them along with moss and plant boring grass. What could be more lovely than moss and violets?

  8. Frogend_dweller says:

    Isn’t it great that phones handle colours so well. My canon would have made them look blue. Violets are adorable and I love it when they pop up in different bits of the garden, miles from where they started.

    • susurrus says:

      That’s the main reason I prefer using it. I also have an old Canon G11, which is amazing in some ways, but less so in others: colour being one of the less so. It’s so disappointing to look through a camera and find it’s almost like looking at a completely different plant.

  9. Heyjude says:

    I’d welcome these little beauties onto MY lawn (so good to be able to say that at last), but only common daisies and some dandelions flourishing at the moment . It’s looking more like a miniature meadow! I have only seen one or two violets so far in the hedgerows. This was a lucky find.

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