All About the Violet
Even if you have never seen a violet, you likely have some idea what it looks like. After all, the color violet comes from this dainty flower. Violets have sweet smelling blooms in bright purple. There are several different varieties that differ slightly in shade from pastel to vivid hues, but the scent remains the same. Violets in art inspire thoughts of an English countryside, as they grow wild there and across North America. Most common violets grow fairly close to the ground and have small blossoms at the tops of thin, fragile stems. In the language of flowers, the violet is a symbol of modesty and innocence.
Description of the Violet
The violet is often called a viola, which is probably because it is part of the viola family. There are up to 450 species of flower in this family, many of them wild flowers. Violets in particular are found primarily in North America, Europe, and parts of northern Asia, although in recent years they have spread to South America and Australia. The violet is a perennial, growing easily under moderate conditions. The flower is a small purple bloom that usually features five petals. The leaves are shaped like hearts, making sprays of violets a romantic gift to the one you love. They can give your garden a pleasant ambience, even in the evenings because of the pleasant aroma they exude.
Uses for the Violet
The most common use for violets is in gardens, flower beds, and container gardens. Because they are easy to grow and reliable in their blooming, they make great accents that take little time or energy. Some violets grow as shrubs or hedges, and with larger plants come many more blooms; this promises an even stronger aroma. The flowers are small and the stems are delicate and short, so they are seldom used in flower arrangements. However, brides have been known to carry a spray of violets, often planted in small bowls. The flower of the violet plant is edible, so you will sometimes find the blossoms on salads or as garnish or part of a stuffing for some meat dishes. They might even show up in your dessert. You will often find violets dressing up your plates at formal gourmet restaurants.
Growing the Violet
Because violets are innately wild flowers, they generally thrive on their own and are therefore easy to grow. They are small plants that will spread over time, so they are great for landscaping borders or for planting in the little spaces between rocks and other plants, or along walls and edging. They also look pretty in pots on a porch or patio, but you will want to use small pots for balance, given that the violets, themselves, are quite small. No matter where you plant them, the pretty purple flowers will provide a pleasant contrast against your taller plants. You must be aware, however, that violets can be intrusive plants. Once you plant them, they are difficult to get rid of.