Few plants smell like wonderful childhood memories like violets. The native violet: Viola Odorata may be small and few pay much attention to it. But after a few weeks of bright sunny spring days a little rain is usually going to fall, and the scent of the violets is going to be released and carry on air. Many have noticed the divine scent of violets wafting in the air after a spring shower - expressed in Al Jolson's song, "April Showers.":
May come your way,
They bring the flowers
That bloom in May;
And if it's raining,
Have no regrets;
Because, it isn't raining rain, you know,
It's raining violets.
And when you see clouds
Upon the hill,
You soon will see crowds
So keep on looking for the bluebird,
And listening for his song,
Whenever April showers come along.
Poets have sung it's praise and the ethereal sweet fragrance is truly remarkable. Pick a few and smell the sweet perfume, that seems to be there one second and gone the next - a perfume like life and love.
Viola Odorata are small evergreen plants, that thrive in dappled shade and where plenty of leaves fall and form compost. Along most hedges they spread willingly and form large clusters. Seeds are also spread by birds and ants. Since I am not a neat freak and appreciate these delicate flowers, I do not consider them a weed. I have come to appreciate their wonderful fragrance and long for the violet rain of spring, that kicks of the garden season, after the snowdrops and crocus have flowered.
Violets interbreed and produce violets of different colours. The most fragrant are the violet blue, but I also see light blue and even blush pink violets. I have also noticed a variety that produces dark leaves. Even the leaves are romantic - heartshaped.
Empress Josephine loved violets. When she married Napoleon Bonaparte, her bridal bouquet contained violets. Violets became Napoleons favorite flower too. When he left for Elba - he told her: " I will return with the violets of spring". On her grave violets were planted and he picked some and kept them in a medalion.