Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

A festival of violets

white violets

white violets

Every year I enjoy the violets that appear all around the village. I don’t remember seeing so many anywhere else although Jane tells me that there used to be more when she was a kid; sounds like a rose-tinted memory to me.

I think these are common dog-violet, Viola riviniana, although I stand to be corrected on that. What I am certain of is their beauty. Small perhaps, but delicate and blousy in a very modest way. Their flowers are mostly a superb violet colour (as one might expect) but there are plenty of variations, from pure white, through shades of mauve and pink. They appear in front gardens, field margins and road verges throughout the village of Gravenhurst. It’s particularly good to see the flowers appear in mid March when there’s little else to enjoy.

A lighter shade of violet

A lighter shade of violet

Each spring the appearance of violets in flower always surprises me. Unlike daffodils and bluebells, there’s no obvious flower spike warning of its imminent appearance. Rather, violets have small, low growing leaves that, although easy to see, don’t make any kind of announcement of the wonderful treat about to be revealed.

Each year the unformed idea of a “Gravenhurst Violet Festival” passes through my mind. I have no clue what it might involve other than a wild climax during which some quantity of beer is consumed. Perhaps next year.

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