Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Love at First Sight - Viola walteri 'Silver Gem'

I am (usually) a pretty strategical plant shopper.  I usually know what type of plant I want and for what site.  I research the plants before I go and buy them.  Oh yes, there are those impulse purchases, but true love usually comes slowly for me, after I have bought the plant and it has proved that it can have have gorgeous blooms/foliage and thrive in my garden.

Plants usually have to earn my love.  But every once in a great while a very special plant comes along....

Viola walteri 'Silver Gem'
... and it's love at first sight.

When I saw Viola walteri ‘Silver Gem’ at a local nursery, I fell in love.  I had no idea where I was going to put it (in fact it sat on my patio for a couple months before I found it a spot) but this is one native beauty I couldn't pass up.


Viola walteri is a spreading ground cover, only 2"-5" tall, with darling little bluish-purple flowers.  It is a native wildflower of the Southeast, and it's nicknames include Walter's violet, prostrate blue violet, and Appalachian blue violet. 'Silver Gem' is a natural variant that was found growing in Alabama in 2003 and introduced to the markets by Mt. Cuba Center a couple years ago.


According to Mt. Cuba Center, this violet grows best in filtered to partial shade, like it's woodland origins, and in fertile, moist, well-drained soil.  After it is established, however, it is supposed to be pretty drought tolerant.  This deer-resistant wildflower blooms from spring through fall.  It wasn't the dainty blooms that made me fall in love, though... 

my pictures don't do justice to the absolutely gorgeous, silvery, veined foliage.


Viola walteri is hardy for zones 5 - 8.  Further north, it is deciduous; down south the leaves at the base may stay evergreen.  (So far, the frost has turned all the top leaves of my plants a dark green, leading to an interesting bicolor look.)


The best spot I could find for my new little treasures is tucked away next to a stump, sheltered and shaded by it and by some taller plants.  It's a spot where one has to look to find them; but then again, the Viola walteri 'Silver Gem' is a plant that is better appreciated up close...


...as most loves are.

Celebrating a beautiful Wildflower Wednesday today with Clay and Limestone.

26 comments:

  1. yes that is lovely, just the leaves alone is ornamental enough. I love its texture, the flowers are just extra!

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    1. Usually I'm all about the flowers of a plant, but the leaves of this one are just so exquisite! I didn't really get the best pics of it before the frost came - they're even better in person!

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  2. That's so pretty, and the best part (for me) is that it's shade tolerant! I have about 4 perfect places for this plant :)

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    1. Very nice! I've filled up most of my shady areas already, so I was really searching!

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  3. Beautiful. Like emily rose, I was thinking of several places to put this. I think you're not the only one that has fallen in love at first sight!

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    1. It's even more beautiful than the pictures! Such a darling little plant.

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  4. Do you know if spreads like the weedy violet? Although the foliage is so pretty, I wouldn't really mind.

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    1. I wouldn't think it does - Viola walteri is endangered in a couple states, which I don't think it would be if it was weedy at all. I haven't had it long enough to find out how much it spreads, though.

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  5. I'm a total impulse buyer. (confession) It is nice to hear that some people plan, but I think I probably would have bought that one too!

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    1. I had to become a strategic shopper, or else I would impulse buy my wallet into a heart attack! It helps my budget (as well as my garden planning!)

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  6. Indie, I love viola's leaves,they are so сlear and nicer than flowers.

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    1. The flowers are so little, they are even easy to miss up close. The foliage, on the other hand, makes quite an impression!

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  7. I adore this viola and had it growing in my lovely shade gardens at the old house...here I have the more native violas/violets but oh the foliage of this "Silver Gem".

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    1. Isn't it so lovely? It rather outshines some of my more common violas!

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  8. Yes it is a stunning plant, I would have fallen in love with it too, and I wouldn't care if it spread everywhere. You have a great eye:~))

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    1. I have a feeling it's not much of a spreader, due the fact that I wish that it is ;)

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  9. What a pretty little plant! I would love to add it to my zone 9b garden. I must check with local nurseries to see if they have it or can get it for me.

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    1. The tag says that this is hardy from zones 5-8, but looking online, Viola walteri seems to be native in parts of Florida that are zone 9. Hopefully it will work for you garden!

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  10. Love it! I must be on the outlook for it. As a native Alabamian, it would be perfect in my woodland.

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    1. Definitely! Wouldn't it be nice if you found this growing spontaneously in your garden, since this cultivar was found in Alabama? That's why I let the weeds get so tall in my garden - I hope they'll end up to be amazingly pretty ;)

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  11. I can see why you fell in lover with it! And it's very photogenic, too!

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    1. And it's even better in person! The blue and silver tones in the leaves are so pretty.

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  12. I have lots of violets growing around my garden that I have a love/hate relationship with. But nothing as pretty as this--the foliage reminds me of a begonia. Lovely!

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    1. It's very unusual. I had bought some native violas for some groundcover just a few weeks before I found these. I wish I had found these first, as they far outshine the other ones!

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  13. I love this plant and couldn't keep it in stock in my nursery. Nor was I able to save some for my own garden.

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    1. Too bad! Hopefully you will get more in (and quickly steal one away while you can!)

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