Violets: Grow, Decorate, Drink


Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you have to abandon all gardening until spring. The next time you wake up on the weekend to a brilliant blue sky sunny winter’s day, get outside in the fresh air and plant violets into your garden.

Australian Native Violets in particular are known to be extremely reliable and compact groundcovers. Growing primarily on the east coast of Australia, they like sheltered areas where there is moisture. Forming a sprawling, mat-like groundcover approximately 100mm high, their luscious, bright green foliage and vigorous growth rate is perfect for rapidly filling bare spots in the garden (eg. between stepping stones).


You can also trail it down rock faces and walls for a dramatic effect.


What is the difference between violets, pansies and violas?

Pansies and violets both belong to the genus Viola. They share many similarities, but there are some clear differences to help define between the two.

1. Pansies have a more compact growth than violets.

2. Pansy flowers are usually larger, with distinct markings (or blotches) that can look like a face.

3. Note the flower petals – pansies have four petals that point upward and one that points downward; violets have three petals that point upward and two that point downward. (1)


Not only do violets provide fabulous ground cover during winter and flower profusely in the spring and summer, their dainty blue, deep purple, and mauve heads (and equally lovely leaves) also look super sweet in a teeny vase on your bedside table or bathroom.


Fans of Masterchef will be quite familiar with the use of little violets as edible garnish in the culinary world. In addition to flowers ‘prettying up’ plates, you can also use them for flavouring and in beverages. Take a look at this rather delightful idea below for violet syrup.

violet syrup

Sweet Violet Syrup

Violet syrup is fabulous added to icings and butter cream for cakes, and is wonderful when used in beverages too. Only a small amount is needed to add to sparkling wine or lemonade for a delectable and elegant drink. Or why not try adding the syrup to homemade French macaroons or use to make violet ice cream?

All you need to make violet syrup is:

•40 to 50g Sweet violets (about 3 to 4 handfuls)
•150ml Boiling water
•300g White caster sugar

Click here to view recipe.

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Sources and Photo Credits







How to Make Rose Petal Fizz

Flipping through the December issue of Country Style magazine, I came across a fabulous recipe for a refreshing, non-alcoholic (okay, it can be converted into alcoholic) summer drink based on fruit and rose petals. If you are looking for a fun activity to do over the weekend or for the festive season, take a look at this recipe below. Roses are in full bloom right now so it is the perfect time to harvest some petals and bottle some fizz! There are all sorts of flavour variations you can play around with; raspberry & rose petals, rhubarb & rose petals, or just rose petals on their own.

White Peach & Rose Petal Fizz

18 cups cold filtered water
16 cups scented pink or red rose petals*
2 rose geranium leaves (optional)**
2 lemons, halved
3 cups caster sugar
6 ripe white peaches
2 tablespoons white vinegar
ice cubes, to serve


Place four cups of cold filtered water in a large saucepan. Add 12 cups of rose petals and 1 rose geranium leaf. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes or until water turns a beautiful rosy colour and petals look grey and colourless. Strain cooking liquid through a fine sieve set over a large heatproof bowl, pressing petals with a wooden spoon to remove as much liquid as possible. Discard solids.

Transfer cooking liquid to a clean saucepan. Juice 1 lemon half. Add lemon juice and sugar to cooking liquid. Place over a low heat and stir until sugar dissolves.

Pour cooking liquid into a large food safe bucket or stockpot. Add remaining cold filtered water, rose petals and rose geranium leaf. Cut peaches into wedges, reserving stones. Crack peach stones and remove kernals. Add peach wedges and kernals to rose petal mixture.


Roughly chop remaining lemon halves. Add to rose petal mixture with vinegar. Gently stir to combine. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a cool, dark place for 2 days to develop flavours.

Now it’s time to bottle. As fizz develops in bottles, pressure will build so it’s safer to use a plastic PET bottle with a little give in it. Strain rose petal mixture through a fine sieve into a large jug (don’t press down onto rose petal mixture when straining or fizz will be cloudy). Using a funnel, pour into four sterilised 1L glass bottles (don’t fill bottles to top).

Place in a cool, dark place for 5-7 days or until fine bubbles form. Store in fridge and use within one week. Refrigerating bottles will hep retard fizz growth – the warmer the fizz becomes, the more volatile it is). Place a few ice cubes in each serving glass and pour over fizz.

Note: To create this delicious drink, peaches and rose petals are left to infuse with sugar, lemon and water for a few days, then bottled to create a beautiful fizz with fine bubbles. The colour is amazing – quite pink. You can also make this fizz with rhubarb and rose petals, as well as just with rose petals. It is lovely straight over ice or mixed half and half with champagne or dry prosecco for something a bit more festive.


This drink is adapted from a recipe in A Year in a Bottle by Sally Wise (ABC Book, $24.99), plus check out the blog Tamsin’s Table – she is the lady behind this adapted fizz recipe!

*You will need about 30 roses for this recipe. Ensure roses have not been treated with sprays.

**An evergreen perennial, the rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) has rose-scented leaves and is available at garden centres. Ensure rose geranium have not been treated with sprays.

The above article is from Country Style magazine December 2014 issue. You can subscribe to Country Style here.

Photo credits: Check out our board on Pinterest for photo sources used in this post.

Get into the country Xmas spirit with our Christmas on the Farm 2014 floral and hamper collection, available online and in-store now.





Making Dandelion Wine

Somewhere along the way the majority of us came to believe wine was simply ‘made from grapes’. Yet in bygones past, ‘wine-making’ encompassed a vast array of fruit, flowers and herbs.

Curiosity piqued, we proceeded to investigate the ancient art of dandelion wine making, resulting in a handy little instruction piece below on how to make one of the most popular flower wines in history, from one of the most common and accessible flowers available to us, the humble dandelion.


To many of us the dandelion is an annoying weed in the lawn, albeit a colourful one.

Yet in addition to dandelion wine (which also happens to be good for the digestion and liver), their leaves can be eaten in salads, and their petals make a lovely syrup to use instead of plain sugar in baked good or to pour over crepes. Apparently, dandelion syrup is known to have a unique ‘barley sugar’ flavour. (1)

Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine: Key Tips to Getting Started

  • Dandelions are most abundant during spring.
  • Pick dandelions in full sun in the morning, after the dew has dried.
  • Ensure the dandelions have not been sprayed with insecticides.
  • Avoid roadside dandelions due to pollutants.
  • Begin to make your wine as soon as you get the flowers home (their petals close once picked).
  • Use just the petals (some wine makers use the whole flower for more ‘tang’).
  • Allow six months to a year after bottling before drinking.

Dandelion Wine Recipe

For a rich, strong, medium sweet wine flavour…


The petals from enough complete dandelion flowers to loosely fill a gallon/3.8 litre container * 4.5 litres of water  *  1.5kg sugar   *  Zest and juice of 4 lemons  *  500g raisins  (chopped or squashed by putting in a carrier bag and pounding), or 200ml can of white grape juice concentrate  *  1 sachet of white wine yeast  *  Yeast nutrient


Easily purchased online from Australian brew-making sites: A large enough container with lid to steep 3.8 litre container of petals with 4.5 litres of water  (stainless steel, earthenware, glass or un-chipped enamel)  *  Large saucepan  *  Large spoon  *  Sterilised funnel & sieve  *  Two x ‘Demijohns’  *  Campden tablet  *  Bubble track or airlock  *  Bottle for final brew.



Step One: Sterilise all equipment thoroughly.

Step Two: Hold each flower by the calyx (the green bit below the petals). Snip off the petals with scissors into a clean fermenting bucket.

Step Three: Boil the water and pour over the petals (make sure you use a large enough container to do so). Cover and leave 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

Step Four: Pour everything into a large saucepan and add the lemon zest, bring to the boil then stir in the sugar until dissolved. Continue to boil for five minutes. Take off the heat and add the lemon juice and the crushed raisins or grape juice concentrate.

Step Five: Clean the fermenting bucket thoroughly using a campden tablet, pour in the mix and cover until cool. Add the yeast and yeast nutrient and cover. Ferment for three or four days then transfer into a demijohn using a sterilised sieve and funnel. Fit a bubble trap and allow to ferment for a couple of months, rack-off into a fresh demijohn, leave until clear, then bottle. (1)

Now we cannot claim to have tried this recipe, and after researching the topic of dandelion wine making online, there appears to be a number of different methodologies. We’d love to hear from anyone who is inspired enough to give it a go!

how to make dandelion winedandelion winedandelion wine receipe




Photo Credits: See



A Xmas Food & Flower Tasting Plate

How delicious is steak served with the right bodied red, or a creme brulee with a perfectly matched sticky dessert wine? It is common to pair food with wine, but what about food with flowers? Well in the spirit of the Christmas holidays, we thought we’d have a go at matching typical festive Australian fare with flowers. And here is the result…we are positive that these pairings will only enhance the taste of your Christmas dinner this year!

Prawns and Heliconia

This summer try pairing chilled prawns with cheeky Heliconia flowers straight from the North Queensland tropics. A match made in seafood and sun heaven!

Chilled Prawns Beautifully Paired with Tropical Heliconia Flowers for Xmas         Tropical Heliconia Flowers for an Australian Xmas

Eggnog and Gardenia

Aromatic, creamy Christmas-time eggnog and cinnamon stick straws are beautifully paired with exotically fragrant, summery gardenia blooms arranged elegantly in a crystal vase. Yum!

Creamy, aromatic eggnog for Christmas served with a crystal vase of exotically perfumed gardenias. Bliss! Bouquets. Flower Arrangements. Send flowers online. Same day flower delivery.    A fragrant summery gardenia is paired beautiful with aromatic, creamy eggnog for Christmas. Send flowers online. Florists. Flower delivery.

Pavlova and Dahlias

How about a summer pavlova smothered in luscious cream and topped with mixed red berries teamed with the aptly named ‘Santa Claus’ dahlia? Fluffy balls of loveliness with fluffy sweet meringue for Christmas…Sign me up!

An elegant Aussie Xmas pavlova would look extra delicious paired with the 'Santa Claus' dahlia. Online flowers. Florist. Send Flowers Online.     The 'Santa Claus' dahlia in red and white is paired beautifully with a summer berry Aussie pavlova for Christmas... Online flowers. Online florist. Send flowers online. Same day flower delivery. Florist.

Pineapple Glazed Ham and Hibiscus 

What better food-flower match than a pineapple glazed Christmas ham surrounded by shallow bowls of floating tropical hibiscus? So Australian!

A pineapple glazed Christmas ham looks great with shallow bowls of floating tropical hibiscus flowers. So summery. So Australian! Florist. Send flowers online. Online florist. Florists. Flower delivery.     Hibiscus flower with pineapple glazed ham for Christmas anyone? Send flowers online. Flower delivery online. Florist. Flowers Online.

White Christmas and Sherry Baby Orchids

It is not an Aussie xmas without mum’s moorish slices of White Christmas filled with cherries, dried fruit, rice bubbles and sweetened condensed milk. And what better floral match are these honey-scented, frilly Sherry Baby orchids, yes?

Moorish White Christmas filled with cherries and dried fruit looks great with frilly and fragrant Sherry Baby Oncidium orchids...     Dainty 'Sherry Baby' orchids smell like honey and look fantastic with cherry-filled slices of White Christmas. Online florist. Send flowers online. Flower Delivery.

Candy Canes and Henri Matisse Roses

Why not team a fishbowl vase filled with blown Henri Matisse roses alongside mason jars of striped candy canes on your table this Christmas? It’s a perfect match!

Candy canes would look extra sweet if served with a bowl of Henri Matisse roses, yes? Send flowers online. Florist. Online florist.     Just imagine a fishbowl vase filled with a ball of blown Henri Matisse roses next to a bowl of Xmas candy canes...delicious! Online flowers. Flowers online. Florist. Send flowers. Same day flower delivery.

Rich Christmas Pudding and Cymbidium Orchids

Oh silent night, holy night! If there was ever a more perfect pairing of Christmas fare with flowers, it would be this rich English Xmas pudding served with brandy custard and an abundance of chocolate Cymbidium orchids spilling out of a tall vase. Pure decadence.

A rich Christmas pudding looks extra-decadent teamed with chocolate Cymbidium orchids. Luscious flowers online. Florist. Flower Delivery      Chocolate Cymbidium orchids served with a generous slice of rich Xmas pudding and brandy cream, mmmmm..... Florist. Online florist. Send flowers.


We would love your input on the perfect pairing of festive food and flowers for Christmas! Send us your suggestions in the comments box below and we will post the best ideas to our Pinterest inspiration board, ‘Christmas Food & Flower Matching’