Sunday, February 01, 2009


"Surely as cometh the Winter, I know
There are Spring violets under the snow."

~ Robert Henry Newell (used pseudonym Orpheus C. Kerr)
(Spring Violets Under the Snow)


A humble flower long time I pined

Upon the solitary plain,

And trembled at the angry wind,

And shrunk before the bitter rain.

And oh! 'twas in a blessed hour

A passing wanderer chanced to see,

And, pitying the lonely flower

To stoop and gather me.

~ William Makepeace Thackeray



Violet scientific classification:
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Violaceae
Genus: ViolaSpecies
List of Viola species

Violets (Viola) are a genus of flowering plants in the family Violaceae, with around 400-500 species throughout the world, mainly in the temperate Northern Hemisphere but also in Hawaii, Australasia, and the Andes in South America. They are typically found in moist and slightly shaded conditions such as hedgerows.

Most violets are small perennial plants, but a few are annual plants and some are small shrubs. They typically have heart-shaped leaves, and asymmetrical flowers with four upswept or fan-shaped petals, two each side, and one broad, lobed lower petal pointing downward. The shape of the petals defines many species, for example, some violets have a "spur" on the end of each petal. Flower colours vary in the genus; many are violet as their name suggests, and some are blue, some yellow, some white, some cream; some are bicolored, often blue and yellow.

Flowering is often profuse, and may last for much of the spring and summer.
One quirk of some violets is the elusive scent of their flowers; along with terpenes, a major component of the scent is a ketone compound called ionone, which temporarily desensitises the receptors in the nose; sniff all you like, you won't get any more smell from the flower.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the wonderful info & background on this spring bloomer! I have wild violets that pop up everywhere including the lawn. I leave a few for their dainty little blossoms.

F Cameron said...

Violets are so beautiful! What sentiments and memories that conjure up.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful layering, Joey. I cannot wait to see those little purple darlings. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Joey, I am reading along, happily following and thinking about our own rotten violets that have world domination in their genes. You are saying that they really smell nice, but they paralyze our noses? I thought they just didn't have any scent because they were not the right kind. There is a type that is fragrant though, isn't there?

Anonymous said...

Joey - this image is simply stunning.
It has an ethereal quality to it.
Spring will come again :)

joey said...

Thanks Racquel ~ I have a love/hate relationship with violets ... though beautiful in the early spring, they remain too happy in my garden so end up chasing them away!

How true, Cameron. Suppose why often referred to as 'Sweet Violets' :)

With the way winter is going, Nancy, looks like it will be well into April before the even snow melts, although today is a balmy
42-degrees :)

Violets can certainly be rascals, Frances. Beautiful when they first bloom, I welcome them in early spring, tossing them in salads and using them candied in desserts ~ the rest of the gardening year consists of kicking them out from wherever they don't belong ... which seems to be everywhere!

Thank you, dear Karen, how lovely. The background is my snowy back yard, superimposed with one of my white violets.

Rose said...

Such a lovely image, Joey, I don't know how you create these! It's comforting to think there might be some flowers under all that snow. We are in the 40's today like you, but it doesn't look like all of the snow will melt soon. Another month or so, and we'll see the violets.

Brenda Pruitt said...

As fragile-appearing as thin onion skin...

joey said...

Indeed the life sleeps under the blanket of snow, dear Rose. Each year I'm amazed when they awaken! Until then, stay warm and sweet dreams :)

Thanks Brenda ... a lovely thought!

beckie said...

Joey, beautiful images. I am always in awe of your talents.

The violet is IL. state flower-it should be because in the spring they are every where. I always leave the most of them growing where they may. Such dainty blooms that last and last. Hopefully the groundhog will have some good news for us and spring won't be far off.

Gardeness said...

Great blog! Love the info on the plants AND the recipes. I am always looking for something tasty to eat.

Anna said...

A beautiful photo. I have just celebrated a birthday, and my sister sent me a basket planted with sweet violets, which is now filling our dining room with scent. I like the poem too. You have a lovely blog Joey.

Phillip Oliver said...

Beautiful photo!

Sweet Home and Garden Carolina said...

Lovely musings, Joey. I love violets and the color purple.

I planted violas under my shrubs and they've survived not only Chicago winters but if it's cool enough they bloom for a very long time. I also like the way they colonize to create a beautiful cloud of purple and yellow.

joey said...

How kind, dear Beckie, and thank you. I did not know the violet was IL state flower! It could as well be ours since they're everywhere and everywhere and everywhere :)

Welcome Gardeness and thank you. It was a joy visiting you as well.

Happy belated birthday, Anna ... we've celebrated many here this month also. Thank you for your kind words and please return. Enjoy your violets!

Thanks Philip ~ it was fun to create.

I'm so glad I remembered to post, Carolyn ... there is hope for me :) I agree, clouds of yellow and purle violas are stunning ... now, how's the 'Sweet Pea'?

Anonymous said...

Lovely poem, Joey. Violets, violas, and pansies are my favorite flowers, and I plant them every year.

Always Growing

joey said...

Thanks Jan ~ some of my favorites also, especially pansies that I can't live without.

Unknown said...

Interesting post and stunning photo. The purple veins look so pretty!

Thank you for stopping by my blog. There were several pointsettias still blooming in my hometown and somehow they reminded me of you. Just shows how much I loved your pointsettia post!! I'm saving the shots for GBBD.

joey said...

Thank you, Kanak ~ I so enjoyed your lovely post and beautiful garden tour.

Connie said...

A wonderful post, Joey. I love the sweet little violets...they are a sure sign of spring here.

joey said...

Now that February is here, it won't be long before violets begin poking up their nose, Connie!