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Roses red and violets blew,

And all the sweetest flowers,

That in the forest grew.

Edmund Spenser, 1590

Welcome to Violetsblew, an online nursery specializing in Viola odorata cultivars and a smattering of other Viola species.  If this seems familiar, that's because it is.  Violetsblew is the new name of Gardens in the Wood Grassy Creek, but only the name has changed.  Violets continue to be propagated and grown here in the North Carolina mountains with as much love and care as they ever were. 

Attention:  If you happen to have a Viola odorata cultivar in your garden that is not listed here or any other violet that might be of interest, please don't keep it a secret.  Instead, shoot an email this way with a photo, if possible.  This nursery's goal is to have as many varieties available to American gardeners as possible, but it requires a bit of sleuthing.

Visiting:  Violetsblew is an online and mail-order nursery and is not open to the public.

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Shipping:  Violetsblew does not ship outside of the United States.  Because Violetsblew is a small, seasonal business, it's not feasible to offer free shipping.  UPS and USPS continue to raise rates, and there's not much that can be done about that, but I am working toward sending plants in smaller containers to save you money.  And, remember, a full box is always more economical to ship than a box with one or two plants.

Generally, plants to states in the eastern half of the country will be sent by UPS, and those to the western half will be sent by USPS because it's faster that way. 

More about shipping:  Please note that plants sent to California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah must be sent bare root.  This complies with individual state agricultural restrictions.  These plants will be sent in USPS flat rate boxes, with shipping charges based on full, large flat rate boxes.  Up to 15 violets will fit into a large flat-rate box. 

Shipping Dates:  Violets are shipped according to USDA zones and the weather conditions here at the nursery.   More than anything else, it depends on the individual readiness of the plants (each has its own way of doing things) than on where they are going.

Generally, violets begin shipping in early April through June and again in late summer/early fall. 


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Viola odorata, also called scented violets and sweet violets, is native to Europe and Asia,  although it has become naturalized here.  Be careful when someone offers “sweet violets” because it could mean just about anything. They are also NOT African violets, which are not violets at all.

Viola odorata has a long history in the world and in literature. They are also known for their heady perfume, culinary and medicinal properties, and singular beauty.  If you want to know more about them, two books that might be of interest are The Complete Book of Violets by Nelson Coon and Violets, The History and Cultivation of Scented Violets by Roy E. Coombs.  Both are excellent resources for gardeners in general and the violet grower in particular.

Care of Violets: The rule of thumb is “shade in summer and sun in winter,” which means under a deciduous tree/shrub and preferably on a slope. Violets like cool, damp humus-rich soils.  Placing your violets in a herbaceous border under taller plants will offer a respite from the summer sun.

Hardiness:  All except the Parma violets (Duchesse de Parme, Alba Plena, and Marie Louise) and Viola hederacea (Australian Violet) are completely hardy in Zones 4-9).  Parmas, which have the strongest scent, will thrive outdoors in only the warmest of zones, but for most of us, they should be grown in pots and wintered indoors. They may survive a  frost if protected, but they will not survive a freeze.  For larger and more Parma violet blooms, begin cutting off runners in late summer.

Violets should not be allowed to dry out, which invites red spider mites, nor should they stay too wet (here's where a slope is useful), which invites slugs and a host of other problems. These violets are not difficult to grow, but they do require vigilance and a modicum of common sense.


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