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Yesterday's violets coming back.

Richly fragrant flowers have made sweet violet (Viola odorata) a long-time favorite of gardeners. Plants make an excellent ground cover for shady, cool spots. If planted now, they will bloom spring through summer.

Although these old-fashioned charmers have not been widely available in nurseries during the past few years, they are starting to make a comeback. If your nursery does not sell the plants, you can order by mail. Many mail-order nurseries offer a few varieties, but for the widest choice write to Wayside Gardens, 141 Garden Lane, Hodges, S.C. 29695, enclosing $1 for the spring catalog.

One of the most popular violet varieties is 'Royal Robe,' with deep purple blooms that have an especially potent sweet fragrance. For the novelty of pink blooms, as well as sweet scent, try 'Rosina.' 'Red Giant' has long-stemmed reddish violet blooms. 'White Czar' has snowy white blossoms.

Sweet violets prefer moist, rich soil, and adapt well to cool spots that get some shade during the hottest part of the day. In coastal areas, they can take full sun if watered diligently. Once established, plants can become somewhat invasive; to keep them under control, cut off any unwanted runners before they gain a foot-hold. For the best flower display, feed in early spring.

To enjoy the flowers' sweet fragrance, pick off the blooms and use them with other fragrant flowers and foliage to make a potpourri. Or you can simply place blossoms in drawers or closets.
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Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Apr 1, 1985
Words:243
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