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.
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
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