VIOLA ODORATA is an ancient heirloom, which the Greeks used in love potions, and beloved by our grandmothers and their grandmothers because of its sweet perfume, delicate purple to deep bluish purple flower and heart-shaped leaves. To quote Tovah Martin of The New York Times, "Nothing quite compares to the fragrance of Viola odorata. It is an essence so ethereal, so fragile that it disappears entirely the moment after your nostrils sense its presence. Only violets and wallflowers have an aroma so sugary that it satiates and anesthetizes your scent receptors after a few long whiffs. For several minutes, you will be unable to smell that fleeting fragrance while your nostrils recover." Also a wonderful culinary decorative either in fresh salads, preserved in sugar for cake decorations, or made into a fragrant purple jelly. One of the first harbingers of Spring, it will naturalize easily. I remember visiting Dumbarton Oaks Park in Washington in early spring before much else was blooming and being awed by the profusion of this delightful flower - the entire park was enveloped in its perfume and the carpet of purple cast a special light in the gardens. And I was delighted when I moved to North Carolina that my 1927 house, along with all its warts, offered patches of this naturalized garden gem. Blooms from March to June, depending on your location, and self-seeds freely, returning each spring true-to-type in enormous numbers. Grows 4"-6" tall. Biennial. 25 seeds.
MEDICINAL: The flowers and leaves are made into a safe and effective cough syrup by simply warming them in honey. Used traditionally for oral cancer palliative. The dried root is a useful emetic (causes vomiting) due to an alkaloid called violine. A decoction of the dried root is a useful laxative. Tea made from the whole plant is good for digestive disorders and new research has identified a glycoside of salicylic acid (aspirin) which also supports its use for headaches and as a sedative. When the crushed leaves are applied externally (or tied up in cheesecloth and used in the bath) they reduce swelling and soothe irritation. Additional compounds present in this plant are under scientific study for use in treatment of cancers, arthritis, AIDS, gum disease, among other ailments.
GROWING TIPS: Start in greenhouse or indoor flats sowing on surface of well-draining seeding soil. Do not cover. Germination in 7-10 days at 59 to 64 degrees. Harden off and plant outside in early spring. OR plant directly into the garden in the very early spring by pressing into soft garden soil and barely covering, keeping moist until germination. Depending on your timing (and nature's) germination can take a year to break dormancy, but they will eventually reward you with fabulous fragrance and color.
CHERRYGAL HEIRLOOM GARDEN SEEDS & PLANTS is a small family supplier of heirloom seeds. Our vegetables, herbs, flowers & other garden ornamentals are offered in small, inexpensive packets with only identifying information on them (no growing information). We do, however, offer as much growing information as we have available within this listing for each variety, so if you need it please print now because when a variety sells out the listing will disappear from our site.
All seeds offered are FRESH stock, with high germination rates, tested by the growers and myself. Varieties are specially selected for home gardeners. If you want the flavor you remember from grandma's kitchen garden or the beauty of her cottage flowers, or if you are seeking that rare medicinal herb or ornamental but don't want to pay nursery prices, choose CHERRYGAL HEIRLOOM SEEDS.
All CherryGal Heirloom Seeds are heirlooms (dating at least 100 years) or vintage (mid-20th Century or older) varieties, with an occasional modern variety included which I believe merits special attention. All CherryGal Heirloom Seeds are OPEN-POLLINATED. This means saved seed will be true to the parent. Don't be dazzled by the never-ending array of hybrid seeds promoted by gardening suppliers. First, such seeds will not produce seeds that grow true to the parent -- you have to keep buying the hybrid seed (get the picture?). Second, most hybrids are developed for market – not home -- growers with an emphasis on extended shelf life, storage and shipping qualities -- NOT flavor, texture, fragrance and all those other elements that home growers seek. So if you are tired of flavorless tomatoes or crunchy strawberries, give heirlooms a try.
All CHERRYGAL HEIRLOOM SEEDS come from reputable growers (with a preference given to small independent farms) and wherever possible ORGANIC suppliers (so noted). We do not knowingly offer any genetically modified seeds, and customers should understand that in order to be designated “certified organic” a seed is by law not genetically modified. By buying CHERRYGAL SEEDS you are supporting the growing worldwide movement of SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE and with a little practice you will be able to save even more money in the future by growing these open-pollinated varieties and saving seed for next year.
IMPORTANT – PLEASE READ: CherryGal Heirloom Seeds are guaranteed to be fresh to the year indicated on the listing and packet but are NOT guaranteed as to results. Sorry, but there are too many variables in gardening that can impact germination so please do not ask for a refund, replacement or to return unused seed. I always recommend that if you are new to gardening, or to a particular type of plant or variety, that you grow just a few at first to test your germination method. Email with any questions - I always respond promptly. Having said all that, we think you will be pleased and would like to hear about your gardening success!
SPECIAL NOTE TO MARKET GROWERS: We market to the home gardener, but we are happy to fill your order for multiples of any variety available. We do not offer bulk discounts – our seeds are already heavily discounted. Also, we will not accept responsibility for crop failures, so please keep that in mind as purchase constitutes acceptance of 100% of the risk involved in growing any seed offered at CherryGal.com.
SHIPPING: This is important! Practiced gardeners know that the best time to order seeds is as early as possible in the season. I do not list varieties for sale that are not in hand, unless it is noted as "coming." I also add/subtract varieties all season long as inventory fluctuates, so check back often. We are constantly improving our fulfillment procedures to decrease the amount of time from order to shipping. We have added a SHIPPING BANNER to the front of the site and on every listing page which will give you the current time frame for shipping seeds. In off-season, seeds ship very quickly - usually the same or next business day. But as the prime season comes on, shipping can slow. Please consult this shipping banner before you purchase, so there will be no disappointments! We fulfill orders in the order received. Choosing priority or express shipping does not influence the speed with which your order is processed, only the speed with which it moves through the postal system. I package my seeds for shipping in a manner appropriate to the amount and type of seed - larger orders and larger seeds require more packaging. Whether you choose first class mail or priority shipping, your seeds will ship using a delivery confirmation number which will be supplied to you. Our checkout system is keyed to the US Postal System. For small seed orders, I recommend choosing FIRST CLASS mail at checkout. Larger orders (over 13 ounces) can ship either parcel post, or you may find PRIORITY MAIL to be less expensive, depending on your zipcode. (I gave up trying to figure out the US Postal System rates a long time ago). Please enter your shipping address correctly and if you can add the Plus Four Zip Code extension, that is extremely helpful.
I appreciate all my CherryGal.com customers, but have a special affinity for my seed customers. If you have a problem, please email me, using the contact links that are all over the website. Calling is likely to be a frustrating experience, as I do not have the staff to answer the phone, and depending on the time of year, I often don't even have the time to listen to messages. But your email will be promptly responded to.
Lastly, keep an eye out for my end of season sale which starts in June until all inventory is sold. It is always a bargain and helps us clear the shelves each season so that I am offering you only the freshest seeds year to year. Happy Gardening and don't forget to share your garden surplus with your local food bank. (There are just so many bags of zucchini you can leave on your neighbors' porches in the dark of night before they they catch on LOL.)