Question about violets, not roses
I'm currently rather interested in, and quite puzzled by, sweet violets (forms and cultivars of Viola odorata) and Parma violets. I have several varieties of V. odorata as well as the species that abounds locally and in our garden. I'd like to know more about the Parma violets in particular. I've had a purported 'Marie Louise', one of the Parmas, in the garden for several years, growing it without winter protection and the plant doing fine. So either the Parma violets are less tender than generally described, or this particular variety is unusually hardy, or I have the wrong variety--I favor the last hypothesis. Anyway, if anyone is knowledgeable about sweet and Parma violets, knows something about their characteristics, genetic origins, historical development and contemporary breeding of varieties, current state of the trade, and so on, I'd love to chat with you! Also, is there a good book about violets available? I've posted a message similar to this on the Viola forum, but it doesn't get a lot of activity so I thought I'd try here as well.
This message arises out of my current fascination with violets. I have a bunch of them in a vase beside the computer as I write: large, single, very fragrant, long-stemmed violets of a dark, near-red-violet shade. I have a notion this is a cultivated variety that I bought years ago and that has now taken over a good chunk of its part of the garden. I have no idea by now of its name, but wish I did. Now that we are finally easing into spring the violets are among the most noteworthy plants in the garden, as the bulbs have hardly gotten started and I've been staring at the hellebores between snowfalls for weeks. I've also been working among them the last day or two, as violets' bloom period is the only time of the year when I can tell my cultivated varieties from the (also beautiful) more vigorous wildlings that invade their space. So I've been digging up encroaching wild violets as well as doing some late transplanting of my cultivated beauties, and dreaming--I'm obsessed!--about further varieties to buy in October.
Thanks for any help. Thanks for listening to an obsessed gardener!