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  • Betty Girardeau

"Sweet Violets, Sweeter Than The Roses..."


Such are the opening lyrics to a song made popular in 1951 by Dinah Shore. The lyrics were written by Mitch Miller, who also recorded a version. It was a fun song that my entire family loved and enjoyed listening to on the car radio as we drove south that summer to visit our grandparents. I never see violets now that I don't think of that song and that summer. As I was out walking yesterday afternoon scouting sites for the iPhone photography learning lab I will be teaching this afternoon, I was delighted to find many wildflowers in bloom including this cute little fellow. I especially like this color, though wild violets actually can be found in other varying shades of purple and variegated lilac and white. The color above is actually scientifically known as "common blue," but occasionally wild yellow violets are also found. I seldom find them in clumps, though where there is one, there are usually several more nearby. Wild violets found in people's lawns are considered weeds. However, it is one weed that many people like to encourage in their lawns, and you can do so by maintaining moderate to high levels of shade and decreasing the amount of nitrogen you are feeding. In nature they often seem to be growing in what would be considered inhospitable conditions, as was the one above, which is seemingly growing in an area that is pretty rocky. Both the leaves and flowers are edible and a good source of vitamin C and are antioxidants. When I was in France several years ago, I even got to try violet wine and sorbet, both of which were only mildly sweet, but quite refreshing. The historically the blossoms have been used to treat bug bits, dry skin, and varicose veins. I also found a recipe for violet infused soap. But I think I would just rather photograph them.

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