So let’s talk about harvesting violets. We love to use the flowers and leaves in salad, make syrup (flowers), jelly or use them as decoration on desserts. They are mild and beautiful!
Viola is a spring and early-fall plant. It doesn’t like heat, so it tends to die back when the serious summer heat moves in. Depending on where you have it in your garden, you could potentially be harvesting it all growing season, as long as it stays moist and shaded.
If you’re wildcrafting you’ll find viola in shady, damp, wooded areas, as well as gardens, parks and lawns. Always be aware of how the area you’re wildcrafting from has been treated. Any sprayed areas or spots exposed to runoff from roads should be avoided.
The leaves and flowers are both edible and usable as medicine. Deadheading the flowers (clipping them back as soon as they flower) can help extend the flowering season, but stop doing that as flowering winds down to ensure you have some go to seed. We simply clip the flower off at the base with our fingernails and store the flowers in a jar in the refrigerator until we have enough for whatever we’re making. They preserve very well! Leaves can be harvested throughout the entire growing season, while flowers should be taken early in the season, then left alone to propagate.
I hope that as we enter the growing season, you’ll spot these lovely little flowers and look at them as blessings instead of weeds! Remember: a weed is only something you DON’T want in your garden. If you want it there, it’s not a weed. 🙂
Happy gardening! ??