By Lynn Herb of the Week for Herb of the Week for 20th June
Sweet Shy Violet
Surrounding the old hut in our Herbalist's Haven garden at the
herb farm are clusters of delicately scented old fashioned violets appearing.
I absolutely love the fragrance of these olde worlde herbs.
And so have many throughout history. It is said that they were Napoleons favourite flower. Josephine wore them on her wedding day and every anniversary Napoleon gave her a bouquet of these fragrant flowers.
When Napoleon was banished to the Italian island of Elba his last words were "I shall return to France with the violets."
This caused violets to become a symbol of loyalty to Napoleon.
When he escaped and returned to Paris the pathway into the city was strewn with violets. When his beloved Josephine died, violets were placed over her grave.
Romantic history indeed for these easy to grow plants which now come in different colours and double petalled varieties. However the old types do smell the best and even the naturally occurring pink one has a sweet scent which adds a charm to a room when you put a posy in a vase. To make them last longer pop their heads in a bowl of fresh water for a while before putting in a vase.
Throughout history violets have been used for healing, teas and in cooking as well as for their fragrance.
you have an abundance of flowers you may like to try making violet honey. Half
fill a jar with flowers and pour over clear runny honey. Cap tightly and leave
on a sunny windowsill and upend it once a day. After two repeats strain and if
needed repeat with fresh flowers.
Use this delicately flavoured and aromatic honey on toast, crepes or hotcakes or use in your favourite herb tea.