The sweet scented, tiny purple flowers of the Sweet Violets (Viola odorata) which I’ve photographed early in the morning in my garden, reminded me of the first small purple coloured bottle of perfume which I’ve bought for myself when I was sixteen years of age, using my first pay-cheque. The flower’s perfume is quite strong for such a tiny flower, and I was wondering if these flowers are still being used in the perfume industry even today.
I often use these flowers for their medicinal properties and add them to a herbal tea to soothe my throat whenever it becomes painful or my voice becomes hoarse before bronchitis sets in.
The Sweet Violet plant flowers from early Autumn to late Spring here in Pinetown and it prefers to be planted in a shady spot in most, fertile soil, but will withstand some sun too. The leaves and flowers are also well-liked by insects and a few chewed leaves are always to be found on the plant – so there must be something magical about the leaves, because it is the most chewed-up plant in my garden!
Maybe having a plant like this in every vegetable bed, will draw insects to it rather than to your vegetables, which could be a saving by not spraying your plants with other organic herbicides.
The Sweet Violet’s flowers and leaves were used in the olden days as natural herbal remedies for a variety of illnesses, also for the treatment of bronchitis, coughs, catarrh, eczema, rheumatism as well as urinary infection. (A natural chemist shop in itself). According to my copy of “The complete Illustrated Herbal” by David Hoffmann, it definitely has a role to play in a holistic approach to the treatment of cancer, as it has a reputation of been an “anti-cancer herb”.
Sweet Violet plants can be planted along the edge of a herb bed as the plants grow only to 10cm tall. As the leaves are also evergreen, these plants will look enchanting when planted out in a child’s Secret Garden for fairies to wander through.
Sweet Violet plants will make lovely companion plants when planted together with other low-growing types of Violas or Pansies in a flower garden.
Let us grow some Sweet Violets in our gardens and harvest the tiny flowers for placing either in a buttonhole or in a tiny vase to enjoy it’s sweet perfume or use it in our herbal tea.