Friday, May 6, 2011


When we moved to this house 20 years ago, we gave it the name Heartsease because we felt that at last we had come home, in many different ways. 

"Heartsease" is also a nickname for a tri-colored violet/pansy, and we have many kinds of violets here. 

This is the season.  The grass in our front yard is colorful with these sweet little flowers. 

White ones

Purple ones

I decided this year to find out how many different varieties we have here, and to identify each kind. 

Well, THAT was a bigger job than I bargained for!

Newcomb's Wildflower Guide says there are 900 species in the world, but the books I have obviously do not list them all.  Here is what I think we have:

Northern White Violet, in the front yard.  It is very small and dear.  The flower is on a separate stalk from the leaves.  It has a scent.  I wondered why I could smell something sweet when there were no flowering trees around.


The grass also has Common Blue Violet.  No scent!

Along the wooded drive, there are some Long-Spurred Violets.  Their leaves are on the same stem as the flowers and there is a long "spur" on the bottom petal.

Smooth Yellow Violets down that way too.

It's a toss-up as to which are my favorites.  I appreciate the tiny Northern Whites for their fragile appearance and scent, but the Halberd-leaved Violet is really pretty.  It's in the back yard under the evergreen trees.

Go outside right now and see how many kinds of violets you have in your own yard!  You might be surprised.

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