LET JOHNNY JUMP UP IN YOUR GARDEN!
Voila! There are over 500 species of viola, all of them stunning, but the ones we offer are known as Johnny jump ups with the scientific name viola cornuta. The petals of these beautiful flowers are a lovely blend of purple, yellow and white and are said to resemble the shape of a heart, which is appropriate considering their associations with love across different cultures throughout history. Learn a little more about violas, their culinary and magickal uses as well as how you can grow your own by reading on!
A QUICK GUIDE TO VIOLAS
Magickal uses: Love! Use this flower to draw a partner in and find new love, and to strengthen your bond with your partner
Plant me: In September for cooler climates, in February for warmer climates. This plant likes sunshine but not heat
Water me: Regularly, keeping the soil moist
Safe for: Cats and dogs!
Edible: Yep! Violas are edible, and both the leaves and flowers can be added to salads for a pop of colour, or as a garnish, and the seed pods can even be pickled like capers!
We often ask if a rose by any other name would sell as sweet, but the viola has so many names it'll send your head spinning! Garden violet, heartsease, Johnny jumper, Johnny jump up, kiss-me-at-the-garden-gate, come-cuddle-me, love in idleness, love-lies-bleeding (goth af!) and bouncing bet. Celts and Romans made perfumes from Violas, while it was used as a medicine in ancient Greece and China.
The word viola has roots in the Greek word for violet: "ion", which is derived from Io, one of Zeus' mistresses. Persephone, daughter of Demeter, was said to have been gathering violas before being abducted by Hades.
Shakespeare often reference violas in his works: Oberon tells Puck to fetch him "a little western flower that maidens call love-in-idleness" in A Midsummer Night's Dream, while Luciento raves about the effectiveness of violas in The Taming of the Shrew.
MAGICKAL PROPERTIES & USES IN WITCHCRAFT
- Gender: Feminine
- Planet: Saturn
- Element: Water
Shakespeare wasn't lying when he said violas have strong love drawing properties; wearing them on your person will draw a partner and using them during divination sessions will help those looking for a new love.
Pick your violas while they're still covered in dew and rain will surely follow.
Violet represents faithfulness and thought in the language of flowers, so gift a posy to your partner to strengthen your bond.
Violas have long been used to sooth a variety of skin ailments, from eczema to acne. Use them in tea or in baking to take advantage of their antioxidants to instill calm, peace and soothe the stomach. Candied violets made for gorgeous cake decorations, and they can be infused in a syrup to flavour a number of baked goodies.
TIPS FOR GROWING VIOLAS
Violas are best sown in in cooler weather, meaning that cool climates can sow in September but warmer areas should wait until at least February. Plant them around 20cm apart in moist, well-drained soil and prepare it with some homemade compost if you have it. Hot top: plant them in a heart shape. If they prosper, your love will too! Cover the seeds lightly to about 2mm and keep them moist as they grow. Your violas will start sprouting between 10-20 days after planting and you'll have beautiful blooms in a month or two.
Violas are non-toxic to cats and dogs, but always be careful that your furry friend doesn't eat too much of anything outside of their normal diet to avoid tummy problems (and vet bills!)
We referenced Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs and The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Magickal Herbs in this article, both of which are available for purchase.
Photography by Jeffrey Hamilton and Darren Carroll