Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shrinking Violets

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!


Anonymous said...

The foliage is really nice. I think I'd be tempted to paint some of those rocks the same color and pattern as the leaves, just so it won't feel lonely.

Tee said...

Love its tenacity, and your willingness to protect that. The stone ring around the violet is just precious. :)

Katie said...

I especially love the stone ring. You have great taste in plants, I must say. I always learn about new-to-me plants when I stop by here!

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

What luck!! It does have beautiful foliage. To find one growing is such a great find!! Good that you are not moving it. You just never know how delicate the root system might be.

garden girl said...

Aw, what a pretty little violet Kylee. I hope it does well and makes lots of babies. Don't you just love finding garden surprises like that!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I love the circle of stones. I'm of two minds about violets: I like them but I hate them... I can't explain why!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Your garden is so lush Kylee. Everyone will just love it. What a delightful surprise to find the violet while tidying-up. I can see why you like it so well. I hope it grows and spreads for you. I know someone in MI that grows this too.

Mia said...

I love surprises and happy endings. Lucky you :)

IlonaGarden said...

I love surprises like that! The circle of stones is tried and true way to give a "circle of protection" :)

Cindy, MCOK said...

What a happy surprise! I hope it's just the first of many to come. I know your visitors will be wowed by your garden.

Gail said...

Yippee...A great story. Ask and the universe often answers ...YES! gail

Diana said...

How exciting for you, Kylee, to find a long, lost friend in your garden. And what an honor to be on the garden tour. Your comments about that seem so calm and serene. Honestly, aren't you really frantic? I'd love to see some more long shots of the garden as you are prepping it. All the best with the tour!

Victoria Williams said...

What a great story! Great looking violet, too.

Sylvana said...

It's beautiful. I put rock circles around my vulnerable plants too! They have to be in a distinct pattern or I will move the rocks not remembering why they were there in the first place.

Kylee Baumle said...

mrbrownthumb ~ Good idea, MBT, but then I might not notice the stones and it would become an endangered species. LOL.

Tee ~ This is one plant worth going the extra mile for! I was just thrilled to come upon it!

Katie ~ Thank you! I'm always looking for something new and unusual!

Janet ~ I did move it. It was likely to be smooshed by a foot where it was, so it's in a safer place now. I dug WAY out around it, so the roots weren't disturbed much, if at all. The soil was rock hard from compaction, so it almost looked like I used a cookie cutter to remove it! LOL! So far, it's doing well!

garden girl ~ Yes, I do love finding surprises like this! I just couldn't believe it!

Monica ~ That's interesting! I love violets of all kinds!

Lisa ~ There are areas in the garden that are struggling because of the lack of rain and really hot weather for growing. But hopefully, people won't be disappointed. If they're going to drive all the way out here (from Van Wert), I want them to think it was worth the trip!

Mia ~ Yes, indeed, lucky me! :-)

Ilona ~ Wonder why so many of us choose to encircle our plants with stones like this? Great minds think alike? ;-)

Cindy ~ I'm sort of depressed about the garden, actually. The middle of August is not a great time to have people see your garden for the first time, especially when it's basically a perennial garden. But hopefully, they'll be looking at it through those rosy-colored glasses! :-)

Gail ~ God winked at me! :-)

Diana ~ Yes, I'm getting frantic about now! There are some things that I should have had done by now, but as The Queen of Procrastination, I just didn't. I'll be right up to the last minute doing things. Nothing really major, just a bunch of little things, most of which aren't all that important, but I'll want to have done, nonetheless!

If I can manage it, I'm wanting to do a video tour of the garden either right before the tour or right after. I might even take some footage DURING the tour as people are wandering about. We'll see! :-)

Kim and Victoria ~ It's really unique and I just love it!

Sylvana ~ Oh my goodness, I've done that, too! If the plant is really small (as this one is), I'm near-sighted enough that I'd miss it altogether without the rocks!

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