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Helpful Herbs & Flowers With Minette Tonoli PANSIES & VIOLAS Cheerily flowering for months on end, and bringing colour to winter and early spring when few other flowers are about, the Violaceae family which includes violets, violas, violettas, and pansies, are favourite ornamental flowers in gardens world-wide. Suited to borders in large gardens, or grown in small pots and hanging baskets on balconies, these bright and colourful flowers are easy to grow and care for. They are so much more though than just pretty flowers – they are edible too and some of the species plants even have traditional herbal medicine uses. LET’S MEET THE FAMILY SWEET VIOLET Viola odorata With its understated charm and heady fragrance, sweet violet has been a regular in gardens since the Medieval period. A vigorous ground-covering perennial, the species plant has deep purple flowers, but cultivars sport pink, white, striped and yellow colours too. HEARTSEASE Viola tricolor, Viola arvensis The little wild viola with its flower that always has the three colours yellow, white and purple, is a personal favourite of mine. Self-seeding easily, they live up to their colloquial name, 'Johnny jump up' by springing up all over the garden, even in the most unlikely places. VIOLETTA Viola cornuta (and others) Other viola and violetta species, varieties and cultivars, with similar small flowers as the wild heartsease, are available in a staggering range of colours and flower markings to brighten up the garden. PANSY Viola x wittrockiana Pansies, with their large flower 'faces' were developed from a complex ancestry involving at 42

Issue #14 | The Inspired Guide | August 1st 2020

least three different Viola species, including the wild viola (V. tricolor). Most pansies are grown as annuals, but a few short-lived perennials are available in good climates. USES Edible Flower With their gorgeous showy petals, all the violas and pansies are delightful additions to salads, and their mild flavour perfectly compliments soft cheeses and butters. Fresh, or candied they are striking edible decorations for cakes, cookies and other baked delights. The very fragrant flowers of sweet violets can be used to infuse sugars, syrups and other preserves. Medicinal It is mainly sweet violet and heartsease that are used medicinally. Folk-remedy uses for sweet violet include treating bronchitis, asthma, lung and digestive complaints. Historically heartsease was given to ease heart complaints, from which it got its name, but in modern herbalism it is used mainly as a purifying herb and for skin problems such as eczema. Household & Beauty The strong perfume of sweet violet lends itself beautifully to be included in homemade soaps and cosmetics. Garden Sweet violet is a dynamic accumulator* plant, and a weed suppressing living mulch. All members of the family are good at attracting bees and can be grown to attract pollinators to the garden. *A dynamic accumulator is a plant that gathers minerals and nutrients from the soil and stores them in a bioavailable from in high concentrations in their leaves which can then be used as fertilisers or compost additions. Minette Tonoli MeadowSweet Herbs & Flowers www.meadowsweet.co.nz

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The Inspired Guide - Issue #14  

Read Issue #14 of The Inspired Guide - FREE Conscious Living and Holistic Wellbeing ePublication! Filled with carefully curated inspiring a...

The Inspired Guide - Issue #14  

Read Issue #14 of The Inspired Guide - FREE Conscious Living and Holistic Wellbeing ePublication! Filled with carefully curated inspiring a...

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