Violets smell like burnt sugar cubes that have been dipped in lemon and velvet.
Doesn’t this conjure such a delicious picture? That caramely smell tinged with lemon on a bed of (it has to be) purple velvet.
Greek mythology tells us that Sweet Violets (Viola odorata) originated from the tears of a nymph who was loved by Zeus. To hide her from his wife, he turned her into a pure white cow. She cried as she could not eat the bitter grass, so Zeus turned her tears into sweet violets to provide her with a sweeter, more delicate fodder.
I have so many violets in my garden When they are happy they simply spread out all over the place but are not invasive. The roots become really matted which makes them an ideal plant for slopes or at the edge of beds to stop water run-off. To split them, take a clump out with a spade and break it into smaller clumps of about 20cm across. You can break them into smaller clumps but they settle better when the clumps are not too small. They are happiest with some shade and frequent watering encourages more blooms.
The flowers are so pretty and can be crystallized for decoration. I tried it once and realised I don’t have the patience. This recipe for frosted violets is less time-consuming, although still fiddly. It takes a while to pick the flowers so if you need a wind down, sit next to the clump and pick some flowers to frost or to make Violet Vinegar or Violet Jam
There are several medicinal uses for violets and this effective cough syrup is a good one to make for chesty coughs.
Sweet Violet – Viola odorata