Nothing beats hand-weeding for getting up close and personal with your plants. You can stand back and look at your garden, and enjoy the overall effect, but it is only when you duck under that floppy Japanese Lilac to dig out the clump of grass that has been waving its seedheads at you that you find the six little plants of Viola rostrata, Long-spurred Violet, that you grew from seed last year and tucked in there at the last minute before it snowed.
Truth to tell, I had forgotten about them. V. rostrata is one of our local native violets, but I have never (yet) found it in the wild. When I saw the seed listed in a seed exchange, I sent for some. They germinated as easily as most violets do, and last August I potted them up in little pots. It was so dry at that time that there was no sense in putting them in the ground. Eventually it got to be late October and I vaguely recall sticking some of them under the Lilac. Today when I ducked under the low branches to pull out the grass, I was startled to see these little faces looking back at me!
You can't mistake this one - the spur is very long, and the markings on the petals are distinctive.They are a good size, too, the plants about 6" tall and the flowers over 1" across.
Which of course leaves me in a slight quandary. I can now say I have V. rostrata.... but not from a known local population, so I can't say I have the indigenous form. As a result, I will count them as 'found', but will not plant them in my woods. Garden, yes, woods, no. Still, it is great fun to see them!
I've put a new box on the right-hand sidebar. Click on the link to 'Ottawa Violets' and a Google Drive document will open. You can read it on the screen, or print it. It is open to anyone with the link, but of course you can't edit the stored version. It is a slightly personal look at the Ottawa Valley's violets, so you may not agree with my organization of the different species. I'll be updating it to add V. rostrata and probably another header page describing some of the identification problems. This will take a few days, so please be patient!