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Help Needed with VIOLETS Please


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Showing 1-23 of 23 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 4, 2012 9:46:51 AM PDT
widowTink says:
I posted this in the gardening forum, but it doesn't look like it gets too many visitors...I know there are smart people here, too.

I am looking to grow Violets to harvest petals and make violet syrup and candied violets. I am confused with all the different kinds of violets, do I use African Violets? I've seen so many different kinds. I want the ones that are used to make Choward's Violet Mints. Monin makes a Natural Violet Syrup. Or am I completely dense because ALL violets smell that way? Are there wild violets? I just love and ADORE that violet aroma and taste. I love it more than lavender. It's impossible to find, the products are so rare, so I want to make my own. Thanks for the help!

Posted on Sep 4, 2012 9:55:03 AM PDT
Tink,

The only ones I've ever seen used are what are considered "wild" violets but they were grown under controlled conditions.
Here's a fairly good blog on the subject.
http://hennabyheather.com/henna_blog/?p=108

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2012 10:27:07 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 4, 2012 10:28:33 AM PDT
widowTink says:
Yes...that's what I want to do! But it still doesn't say WHAT KIND of violets....where is this wondrous, magical kindgom where these little gems grow wild?????? I wouldn't even know where to begin to look. I'd like to start some from seed, but there seem to be many different kinds. I'm still searching and googling, but I can't seem to pin down a specific plant to use.

(Hey...if anyone out there lives in the area between Sacramento and Fairfield....do you know where there are wild violets????)

Posted on Sep 4, 2012 10:32:25 AM PDT
widowTink says:
hmm. The only thing in an Amazon search of "wild violets" is a herbicide to kill them. (And some weird looking yellow flowers that don't look like real violets.) tink is horrified.

Posted on Sep 4, 2012 11:27:30 AM PDT
Tink,

The issue with most commercially flowering plants available these days is that the fragrance has been bred out of them.
So if you buy an African or other type of violet meant to be a houseplant you won't get what you're looking for.
Wild violets crop up in the early spring and begin to flower just after the ground thaws and the days begin to be warm.
Come to my yard next spring and I'll dig you up a zillion or so of them. They are pretty but very invasive -
If you want the fragrant violets you're almost surely going to have to find someplace where they grow wild.

Posted on Sep 4, 2012 12:43:06 PM PDT
widowTink says:
I'm watching ebay item #271003571338. Are these the violets in your lucky yard? If so, I'm gettin' em........

Posted on Sep 4, 2012 2:06:47 PM PDT
Tink,
Yes, those look like the violets that grow here in the northeast.
The listing also tells you how invasive they are.
Were I to grow them on purpose I think a raised growing bed would be my choice just to keep them out of my lawn and gardens.

Remember this rule when starting plants.
1st year they sleep
2nd year they creep
3rd year they leap

So while you're waiting you might want to ask people local to you if they know of anywhere wild violets grow and bloom in the spring.

Posted on Sep 4, 2012 4:43:38 PM PDT
Grandma says:
No, not the African violets and not the ones listed in most gardening catalogs as Violas either, though I believe I have seen them in Thompson & Morgan's catalog. I don't think I would want to bother starting them from seed though.

There is nothing more beautiful in the spring than a lawn covered in violets - and I cannot even imagine planting them in a raised bed! If you live in an area where they grow, many folks will be happy to dig you up a few plants as starters for your own yard. For that matter, if you know somebody who had them, they can be mailed fairly easily - just make sure to get a good dirt/root ball with them, wrap the roots well to contain moisture and rig some sort of crush resistant container for them. They need no attention at all - just make sure not to spray them, then go out and pick them very early in the morning to candy.

Violets do, BTW, do fairly well in partial shade and they can make a nice filler in borders. Don't worry about any that spread to your lawn. Even though you mow them down they'll be back the following spring.

Posted on Sep 4, 2012 5:23:42 PM PDT
Grandma,
Wild violets get into your lawn and choke out the grass - We have them here and while they are pretty in the springtime when blooming, I'm not so happy with them the rest of the year.
I did plant a small clump of them in a nook in my rock garden - again, very pretty especially in the spring and most years when we haven't had a long period of drought as this year but they have to be tended to often or they get totally out of control.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2012 5:38:13 PM PDT
Grandma says:
We've never had them choke out the grass P. Fulton - we just mow over them. One church I know of has a gorgeous front lawn that every spring is completely carpeted in purple and white violets. They never seem to make any difference at all to the grass.

Posted on Sep 5, 2012 5:57:00 AM PDT
widowTink says:
I have every intention of starting my violets in some barrels in the backyard. We moved here last October, and the entire backyard is completely covered in black plastic and hideous white rock. We will have to chip away at it a little at time, so right now everything I have planted is in a container. Some large barrels planted in violets should be pretty, huh? I think I will order the ones I'm watching on eBay. They are the fragrant, tasty ones, right? That's what *tink* needs. I wonder if planting them within the next couple of weeks will be okay????

Posted on Sep 5, 2012 7:10:14 AM PDT
Yes, I think they'd take at this time of year as long as they don't get too hot or a lot of direct, hot sunlight.
Grandma is in Vermont and I'm in N.Y so our climates are about the same and very wild violet (viola) friendly and I see that that ebay seller is in Florida so they must do well there, where it's much hotter, too. The plant in the picture certainly looked healthy but I wouldn't expect you'd be getting one in flower.

As far as them being fragrant and tasty, only time will be able to answer that question.
Soil and climate conditions may effect both of those viola attributes too. Dunno for sure though.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2012 8:34:18 AM PDT
Grandma says:
Our last house had huge swaths of that black plastic/white rocks too - except where they didn't bother with the plastic and just put down the rocks. What a mess!

I have transplanted violets many, many times and frankly paid almost no attention to when I did so. I would worry, though, about planting them in containers as they do need to spread. They are not particularly fussy about things like premium soil though and grow very well in rock gardens and that sort of thing.

Posted on Oct 28, 2012 5:30:58 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 28, 2012 5:35:13 AM PDT
Bundtlust says:
I just came back from three weeks in France, including Toulouse, where violet *everything* is the local specialty (hard candy, soft candy, liqueur, you name it!). Here is an overview of the French tradition of cooking with violets: http://www.easy-french-food.com/candied-violets.html. Apparently the most commonly used variety there is the Viola odorata (English violet / common violet).

I also found an article from a local magazine with tips and recipes: http://www.mynorth.com/My-North/April-2005/Please-Eat-the-Violets/

And a recent Chowhound thread offers some ideas: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/770005

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2012 6:32:37 PM PDT
Resips says:
I too love violet flavor goodies and finding them is very difficult. I don't have green thumbs but you might want to try and contact Renee's Garden Seeds, 6060 Graham Hill Road, Felton, CA 95018, (831) 335-7228.

Renee carries lots of heirloom seeds and she might be able to help you find the proper violets to make your goodies.

Good luck and let us know how it works out.

Posted on Nov 3, 2012 3:08:39 PM PDT
widowTink says:
Thanks to all for the advice! I already have violets growing in a barrel in the backyard. I purchased a dozen rhizomes, and they are already thriving and spreading. They are even beginning to come up through the black plastic & white rock! I don't suppose I'll see any blooms until spring. I got a bottle of Creme deViolette, it's lovely, just a hint with 7-up or sprite and I get nice Violet Gratification. I have a few sources for the Chowards Violet Mints, (their guava mints rock, too!). Looking to next get a bottle of Violet Syrup. Looking for local source first.

Posted on Nov 3, 2012 4:51:33 PM PDT
Violet syrup. Really? I've never heard of it - what would you use it in/on?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2012 5:37:29 PM PDT
joaniepony® says:
I just googled Candied Violets,

It says you can use purple pansies, they are in the same clasification as the wild violets.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2012 6:10:39 AM PST
widowTink says:
Mix with a little soda water.....Violet Soda! Yumz!

Joanie: would the pansies still have the same Violet flavor? I'm in LOVE with VIOLETS!!!!

Violets make me think of Violet Beauregard....remember what Willy Wonka did to her? She chewed the violet gum and turned VIOLET........

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2012 6:40:39 AM PST
joaniepony® says:
Tink,

I just googled and read quickly (cuz I can't even grow cactus in the desert)!!! It said don't use Yellow pansies (forgot why!)

I wanna do candied ginger, one of these days!

Posted on Nov 6, 2012 5:31:28 AM PST
Whale Tart says:
Hi Tink, I am falling in here a bit after the fact but just to say that I love Geraniums and they make very lovely container plants. We get a lemon scented one, a rose scented one and then I had the good fortune to stumble across a nutmeg scented one, it has smaller petals and white flowers, really awesome and my favourite. African Violets do not have much of a smell here.
I am interested to try the violet scented goodies, I will probably have to go to a specialty shop.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 6:33:07 AM PST
widowTink says:
I recently candied jalapeno peppers from my garden....omg the sweet-hot syrup is to DIE for!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 6:38:56 AM PST
widowTink says:
Amazon has lots of the violets yummies.......try the Choward's Violet Mints, next I want to try Violet Flavored Hard Candy. I have a bottle of Rothman Winter Creme De Violette (found it at BevMo!) Creme De Violette is not as sweet as you might imagine, but it makes a sublime mixer! When my wild violets bloom (probably not until spring) I will attempt to make Candied Violets. I've been told that African Violets (the indoors kind) have had the scent bred out of them, but Wild Violets are very aromatic.
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Discussion in:  Cooking forum
Participants:  7
Total posts:  23
Initial post:  Sep 4, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 6, 2012

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