half a Hundred herbs Week 10 – Violets
This is the single solitary violet in my garden this year. It is a lovely cultivar – ‘Queen Charlotte’ – with a rich colour and a lovely scent, but it flowers sparsely. I have it in a more sympathetic place now, in the shade of a birch tree and a hazel hedge, to provide sun in the spring and shade later when the leaves develop, so with a mulch of good compost it should do better in future.
Although I love violets, I don’t have too much to say about them this week. Partly it’s because I don’t have a crop good enough to experiment with, but also because this week I have been reading a particularly irritating herbal, which exemplifies all the worst about herb literature. It’s sloppy, vague, and derivative. It isn’t exactly uninformed – I think there’s a wealth of experience behind it somewhere – but it’s written without attention to the needs of a reader who isn’t in your kitchen asking ‘what do you mean by that?’ or ‘you said one thing, just now, but yesterday when we were talking you said something else’. I have a slightly longer post about this issue cooking, but it will have to wait until May. Between now and then, my friend Anne Connolly and I will be judging the poetry bit of the Vernal Equinox competition of the Scottish Federation of Writers (deadline on Friday, so be quick!)
And then I came across this. http://whisperingearth.co.uk/2014/03/17/spring-awakening-with-violets/.
I have followed Lucinda, who writes Whispering Earth, for a long time, but when posts became erratic, I deleted it from my feed. (The reason for the hiatus becomes apparent when you read the post!) This is a well researched an well written blog by someone who not only takes herbs seriously, but also is a good communicator. I’ve used recipes from it, and I can confidently recommend the remedies. And the pictures are lovely too.
Meanwhile, here are some pictures from last year – not the Queen Charlotte, but some wood violets I transplanted from my mother-in-laws garden. They come out a bit later, and a rather more demure than the named varieties – no scent either – but they do like it here!