During the last two visits to Schedel Arboretum and Gardens, I drooled all over the Korean Violets (Viola koreana 'Sylettas'). It was a melancholy drool, because I'd once had the beauties in my own garden. I say "once" because they no longer grow at Our Little Acre.
It's not that I didn't want the unusually-marked violets anymore. Au contraire! I loved them and hoped they would do as violets are prone to do - pop up everywhere. But they did just the opposite. After purchasing them from Bluestone Perennials in 2005, and living for a year after that, they slowly declined and the last they were seen around these parts was oh, back around 2006 or thereabouts.
I don't think it had anything to do with where I purchased them or the health of the plants. They looked good for quite awhile and I was happy when I saw them popping up the following spring after I'd planted them. Getting through an Ohio winter is no small feat for some plants, and though violets are among the hardiest, I was still cheering when they unfolded their pretty little leaves for the first time after the snow had melted. But by the end of the season, they were gone.
Bluestone quit selling them sometime after that, because in order to ease my heartbrokenness over their disappearance, I thought I'd just buy some more, but they were no longer in their catalog. I vowed to find them elsewhere, but as often happens in the spring of any year, other busy work grabbed my attention and they were temporarily forgotten.
So now it's 2009 and I'm strolling through Schedel's Japanese Garden, and oh my...what a healthy, large crop of Korean Violets there is! As I said, drooling ensued and I was hopeful that I'd find a small pot of them sitting in their "For Sale" area. Nope. So I asked at the Visitor's Center if they might sell me some. Nope. They liked them too, of course.
I have looked again for places to purchase the violets and found a few. I must get right on that before something else distracts me. Something like a garden task that is still on my list.
As I said before, our gardens are one of eight on the menu of the Van Wert Master Gardeners Garden Tour on August 9th. There are always things to be done in the garden throughout the summer, but because of the upcoming tour, I feel a bit rushed instead of doing things at my leisure.
Today, the task was redoing the stone borders around some of the gardens. Several years ago, I laid field stone we'd gathered from the farm fields around our house. Over time, the rocks sank deeper and deeper into the ground and in some cases, they had become completely covered by soil and mulch.
I was down on my knees, working on lifting the rocks in the Trellis Garden border, when I came across a tiny plant, no more than two inches across at its widest point. When it registered as to what this plant actually was, I let out a holler across the yard to Romie. It was a Korean Violet! I couldn't believe it.
It was growing in rock-hard clay, about two feet from where I'd planted the original clump four years ago. It had probably bloomed, produced seed, and the tiny seeds had lain dormant until this year. Violet seeds need light to germinate, so it probably got exposed during spring, when I planted something new near this same location.
I debated whether or not to move it, not wanting to take any chances of losing this tiny treasure, but it was growing in a location where it was likely to get trampled accidentally, so I decided to move it to the garden just north of the pool house. There it will be in dappled shade and pretty much out of the way of errant feet.
I put a circle of stones around it to remind myself that it's there, since it really is very small. I'm hoping it will grow large enough to bloom and produce seed and then spread.
Never underestimate the power of a seed!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009