Thursday, May 01, 2014

Freckled viola

Every year, just as the rowdy rhododendrons burst into bloom, shouting down the quiet bleeding hearts and cheerful primulas, I defy them and turn instead to watch the shadiest spot in my garden, where the shyest of the shy violas, the tiny Freckled viola, will be tiptoeing out into the light.

Viola sororia, "Freckles", the "sister viola"

It's a small plant, no more than my open hand's width high. Most of the summer, it's a modest clump of leaves, but just now, its tiny flowers peep out from underneath, open briefly, and disappear, to set seed out of sight under the green roof.

The flowers look downwards, hiding their faces; to see them properly, you have to match them in humility, down on your knees in the London Pride, down at mud level. They're worth it.

Almost open. I'll look again tomorrow.

I've had these some 10 years. They disappear over the winter, but are some of the first to revive when the weather warms. I started with one small plant; each year it spreads a bit more, and now there are three plants, each a little more than a foot across.

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