Daffodils are delightful and tulips turn any garden into a riot of spring color, but the wild violet is the UK’s favorite spring flower, according to new research.
This gorgeously scented old-fashioned purple flower, grown around the world but often known as 'English violet', 'Devon violet' and 'sweet violet', was a favorite in Victorian times.
It was worn in buttonholes, woven into bridal bouquets, and displayed in bunches to mask unpleasant smells. Extract of violet is still used in perfumes today. So it’s nice to see this shade-hugging flower, typically displaying masses of tiny purplish-blue blooms – although some varieties are yellow or white – back in fashion.
The research by Moda Furnishings (opens in new tab) found that 'violets' came top of the online search list for 'spring flowers' with 659,000 searches, trumping tulips (558,100), amaryllis (442,900), daffodils (373,100), and those old-fashioned early favorites hyacinth (286,600) and primrose (207,800).
Why are violets so popular?
The arrival of violet as a favorite spring flower could be down to our need to celebrate hope, says international wellness practitioner Dr Valerie Simonsen (opens in new tab).“Throughout history, the color of violet has been used in royal families, in the military as the Purple Heart, always evoking the beauty, grace, and power of nature. Right now, planting violets in gardens offers hope. We all need hope as we recover from the pandemic.'
Andrew Porwol, owner of garden furniture company Garden Centre Shopping (opens in new tab), suggests catwalk trends are also encouraging the plant's revival. 'Purple is one of the hottest colors this spring so it follows that violets have come into their own and are sprouting up everywhere.'
'Best planted early spring, besides watering in they require next to no care, just a light sprinkle now and again. The return on your minimal labor is an intense, bright and velvety flower that really pops in any garden or flower-pot.'
Wonderful for woodland gardens
Wild violet loves a shady spot, so if you’re looking for the best woodland plants for gardens it could be an excellent choice. Grow from seed, Crocus sells sweet violet (Viola odorata), 50 seeds for £2.99 (opens in new tab), or find wild violet plants at independent nurseries.
Spring is usually the best time to buy so get shopping to snap up some of these lovely flowers and enjoy a stunning garden color scheme.
Jayne Dowle is an award-winning gardening, homes and property writer who writes for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. She was awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021.
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