21st April 2014

Sweet Violets are having a good year- easy to grow in the garden and from seed, they are wide-spread in the wild in England, especially on woodland edges, ditches and hedge-banks. They have flowers from deep mauve to white, glossy leaves and hairy stems.They have been used in perfumes and cosmetics since Ancient Greece, and the Romans made wine from them. They stand for constancy in the French chivalric code and Josephine threw a posy of Sweet Violets to Napoleon the first time they met. After his defeat at Waterloo, he was allowed to visit her grave, before he was sent to St Helena. He found Sweet Violets growing there, and he picked a few. When he died, they were found  in a locket round his neck. A legend that you can only smell them once is not true, but may have some basis in fact- the scent of Sweet Violets contain a chemical called Ionine which is able to deaden smell-receptors once sniffed. Conditions: Dry in the south with some rain in the north. Temperature: Max 15- Min 8c

Sweet Violet

Sweet Violet

Sweet Violets

Sweet Violet

White Sweet Violet

White Sweet Violet

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