Sunday, May 22, 2011

Johnny Jump-up (Viola cornuta)

Last winter, I was worried about my little rose garden as I drove the tractor over the bushes to blow snow away from the house. From the chute of the blower flew huge chunks of pine needles and leaves, which I had used to carefully cover the roses last fall. Not a good sign.

This spring, however, the roses seem to be doing all right, but as anyone who grows flowers will tell you, roses often provide worries.

Johnny Jump-ups, on the other hand, provide no worries.
No sooner had spring sprung and the tireless little wildflowers peeked out from between the tiles on my waterway to greet me with their cheerful presence.

They appeared in groups and they appeared as singles.

They appeared in wide spaces and pushed their way through narrow spaces.
They even seem to cling to walls of stone as in the photo below:

How can you not love faces like those in the picture above?

By early summer the waterway near my garage (pictured above) will be solid Johnny Jump- ups. I'm glad, too, because I don't have to coddle them or even care for them. All I have to do is enjoy them.

Internet information on the hearty wildflower says that they are indigenous to the mountains of Spain and France, but they seem right at home wherever they decide to blossom.

As perennials, Johnny Jump-ups return each spring from the same roots, and the clump just keeps getting bigger and more hearty. Although Johnny Jump-ups often appear where they weren't originally wanted, they seem to escape the hatred many people have for other wildflowers that spread rapidly. 

Why not get some seeds soon and try growing them this spring?

Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson

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