This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
HAVING been asked to reply through your columns which is the best violet and our manner of growing the same, I respond as follows:
We have grown them profitably for the past fifteen years for their bloom. We plant in cold frames of well prepared soil about the end of September, say two thousand plants, these commence flowering two weeks after removal; from the 1st of November to the 1st of February, we pluck from fifteen hundred to two thousand daily. After this the sun becomes stronger, and they flower more abundantly, until about the 1st of April, when they cease. The sash are then removed to allow the plants to grow and harden before we separate them; about the 1st of May we take the old plants up and divide them, making say from ten to fifteen out of each, or as many as we can get with good crowns and roots - tops and roots out back like strawberries, and then planted in open field in good rich soil.
Start your plants early in spring, so that they may be well established before the summer droughts commence. Artificial heat is not required to bloom the violet; bank your frames well with leaves or manure, cover early in the afternoon in severe weather with mats, salt hay, etc. Here is where so many fail in growing them; they do not keep them warm enough at night.
Several fine specimens of the Marie Louise were exhibited, and the opinions of members called for concerning it. Mr. Hovey said that for multiplicity of flowers and general commercial purposes, it was not equal to the old Neapolitan.
Denys Zirngiebel said that the Marie Louise bloomed pretty well until the first of January, and in February ceased altogether, when the old Neapolitan was at its prime.
G. B. Gardener says that with him the Marie Louise flowers earlier than the Neapolitan, hence the dealers are willing to pay more for it.
Mr. Hovey said that it was of a little darker color than the other. He thought it might do better in frames than in the house. The Neapolitan has long stems, standing up well, so as to be easily gathered, while the Marie Louise lays down. The latter is also subject to red spider. Mr. Hovey also said he was the first to cultivate the new variety "Czar" here. It will not do in our warm climate. It runs to foliage too much, and he has condemned it, except as a garden variety, where it flowers late in the autumn. .
Mr. Zirngiebel cultivates the Czar in cold frames. It is of fine color, and he considers it a valuable variety. It is very prolific in frames.
I find it said in your coing like any other species, only being a good and double sweet blooming kind, not resembling any tree-like appearance. I beg to say, that if you trim the plant of its suckers continually, within two years, if well grown, you can have handsome plants, with a crown of one and half to two feet high. The plant is of double value then. F.T. M. Otto. Flushing, Oct. 6, 1851.
The color of this plant is quite indispensable in large mixed masses, and its combinations with most of the silver-edged pelargoniums are truly charming. The mixture of viola cornuta with mangles, pelargonium, and sensation chrysanthemum was universally admired. As a rule, all violas are gross feeders, and should be planted on good ground, plenty of rotten manure being used.
The handsomest we know of the genus, albeit lacking the fragrance of the great favorite, the Sweet Violet of Europe. It was one of the many discoveries of Douglas in California, during the last of his journeys, and but a little before the accident which caused his death in the Sandwich Islands. It has been since found by Mr. William Lobb. Beautifully dried specimens were sent home by him, and plants were reared from seed by Messrs. Veitch & Son, Exeter and Chelsea Nurseries, the exhibition of which at the Horticultural Society naturally attracted much attention. It seems well suited to cultivation in a cool frame. It flowers copiously in May. Mr. Nuttall detected it as far south as Monterey. Botanical Magazine, t. 5004.
The flowers are a bright golden yellow with a pair of large blood red blotches at the back.
During our rambles we have not failed to gather blue, white and yellow violets; although they are not distinguished for beauty, yet as heralds of summer they are ever welcome. Some of them are sweet scented, (though usually they have no fragrance,) and no bunch of spring flowers is perfect without them. Two years since, I found in a meadow a bunch of violets, which from their rare size and beauty, I removed to the garden. They are blue, striped with white, and upon a little turf of six inches in diameter, there were about fifty flowers.