Why I let the wild Violet grow in my garden (Viola spp) is based on childhood fondness for this native woodland flower. As a small girl we lived in Illinois (zone 5) and the woods near my childhood home were filled with Violets in late April/early May. I remember making paper baskets for May Day and filling them with Violets for my mother and grandmother.
There is another reason why I grow the wild Violet in my dry stream bed and in other barren areas in my yard- because they will grow anywhere. The wild Violet can become quite agressive in the lawn or garden so carefully planning where you let them grow is key to keeping them contained. However, the wild violet is a native plant that attracts and feeds the early pollinators here in zone 7 so I want them to grow in the woodland garden and in my dry stream bed. Violets have started blooming sporadically since the 1st week in March and have really begun to show their beauty the last week in March. They grow in zones 4-9 (this varies) and seem to grow east of the Mississippi and from Main down to Florida.
The colorful reason I grow the wild Violet is simply because it is purple and my birth month flower (February). I love this beautiful delicate purple flowers that are edible and good for you. Okay I admit I do not eat them but I read that they are full of vitamins and are healthy. Maybe I should try them in a salad?
Wild Violets spread a bit different than many flowering plants and it is quite interesting. The flowers that are showing now are sterile and do not produce seeds. Instead in summer buds (or cleistogamous flowers) will form on the lower part of the plant closer to the ground that never open but will self pollinate to form seed pods. It is weird to think of a flower that does not flower but just produces seeds. The Violets in my dry stream have most likely spread by seeds because I started with no plants.
Like many plants, there is a tap root and rhizomes which help the violet to spread. Violets are native and are great as a groundcover in a wooded garden. Before you dig up and try to get rid of violets in your garden or lawn you must also know that the leaves of the violet act as a shield against many herbicides. Plus these little ground beauties spread by seed too which herbicides do not have an affect on. You must dig up the whole plant tap root and rhizome to stop them from growing. If you leave any part of the roots and rhizomes they can regrow! Do not throw in your compost but maybe move to a wooded area where they can grow and be useful as a native groundcover and food for the spring pollinators.
Yes you can tell I have a love of the wild Violet and that is why I let them grow. It was the only flower I was allowed to pick as a small girl so I would roam the woods in search of a beautiful bouquet. Wild Violets are so delicate and beautiful for the woodland garden but they can be very invasive and so I know that I will have to make sure they do not take hold and take over anywhere they do not belong.
Thank you for stopping by and reading about my love affair with the wild Violet. If you ever have any questions, feel free to contact me.
Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!
2016 copyrighted material C Renee Fuller @The Garden Frog Boutique