I. SINGLE VIOLETS
Raised by Leonard Lille at his nursery at Lyon
(France) and introduced in 1893. It’s
named after the Russian Minister of Marine, when a
Russian squadron under the command of Amiral Avellan
arrived off Toulon, in the period leading up to the
Franco-Russian agreement of October 13, 1893.
This cultivar has reddish purple flowers,
which reputedly brighten as the season
advances. The flowers have a rather irregular
shape and are very sweetly scented
and are carried on stout erect stems. At
one time this was an immensely popular cultivar
because it was an excellent garden variety that
spreads fast, was neat and very hardy.
Baronne Alice Rothschild
Baronne Alice de Rothschild
A variety found in the gardens of the Rothschild estate at Hyeres in southern
France. Name after Lady Alice Rothschild by one of her gardeners.
It was said that the lawns of the villa were planted with thousands of violets.
Large blue flowers with long petals, and long stems. It’s a good winter flowering
violet, especial under glass as it then enjoys an extended flowering season.
An interesting violet which was raised by Emery Smith of California and first exported to
Pitcher and Mander, Shortills ( New Jersey) in blocks of ice. It is the
first cultivar of any great size. Blooms are 2” across, on long stems. It has
suffered mixed fortunes over the years, mainly because it will not grow successfully in anything
but light warm soils. The flowers are light violet blue, with long narrow petals, the upper two
set wide apart and very fragrant. Needs regular division if he plant is to maintain a neat
Introduced by Armand Millet in 1920, this violet was named to commemorate the
unification of France with her lost territories following the First World War. A seedling
of ‘Rubra’ crossed with ‘Le Lilas’ with beautiful rosy pink flowers that are sweetly scented and
borne on long stems.
Raised by F. J. Graham at Cranforn, Middlesex (UK) during the latter half of the
19th century and introduced by Thomas Softly Ware (Tottenham and Feltham), Middlesex in 1863.
Deep purple long stemmed flowers, strongly scented, very free and reliable.
Another violet from the nursery of Armand Millet, raised in 1875 as a seedling of
‘Czar’. It differs from the parent in that it has very firm, rounded petals, and it is
darker in color though the scent is as pronounced, if a little more delicate.
If the violet that Don Garibaldi (Ano Nuevo Flower Growers, Pescadero, CA) is the ‘Giant,’ then the
description is thus:
Raised by G.W. Boothby of Louth (Lincolnshire), England. Deep purple blooms that up to 2’ across,
produced more freely than ‘Czar.’
Supposedly a form of V. odorata ‘Sulphurea’ , with blooms that are a deeper
shade of creamy buff, though this is not always the case. The flowers are extremely
variable with a vast number of differing colors reported and seen. The change in color
is probably related to the soil it is grown in.
Named after the first director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens and introduced in the 1880s. Bright
mid blue flowers of a good form, it is vigorous and with good scent. It can be a bit stingy with its
flowers in autumn on certain soils, which can also produce a rosy flush to the flowers.
Introduced in 1891 by Armand Millet. A very fine violet. It’s one of the largest in terms of
flower size. Very large dark violet-blue flowers on long rigid stems. Its good compact habit
is unusual in the larger flowered varieties. It blooms early though in cooler districts it should be
grown under glass.
One of the old, perpetual violets with deep color to the blooms, a free habit and very robust in cold
weather. The large flowers are dark bluish-purple, pointed in outline, and carried on long strong
stems. A very hardy variety that is resistant to pest and disease whilst still producing an abundance
Madame Armandine Pages
Another perpetual violet introduced by Armand Millet in 1900. Light rosy-pink flowers, fairly sweetly
scented. Because of its smaller size and neat growth it is a very good violet for the rock garden.
Mrs. R. Barton
Grace Zambra named this violet after her cook whom she poached from the local hospital. The blooms are
white marked with violet, which appear heaviest toward the end of the flowering season. Long stemmed
with very free flowering and a good perfume. Sometimes, wrongly named ‘Alassio.’
It originates in the Midi region (France). This cultivar has carmine-violet flowers which have
good perfume and long stalks. It’s a late blooming variety that thrives in a warm, sunny position,
not suitable for cold regions.
A lovely viole,t introduced around 1930, the blooms are quite unique in that they are lilac-mauve tinged with
rosy pink and pale blue. They are scented. An excellent subject for a rock garden
where to add impact, it should be given a prominent, carefully chosen spot.
A cultivar that has been in existence since 1902 and one of the seed parents of ‘Coeur d’Alsace.’ It is
supposed to be an improved form of odorata rubra, the improvement being in the color. The flowers
are deep coral pink, sweetly scented though appearing late in the season. It has a compact habit and in
milder climates it can bloom in March and April.
Probably named after Her Royal Highness, Princess Alexandra (eldest daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark)
who married Edward, Prince of Wales in 1863.
The flowers are similar to ‘Amiral Avellan’ to which it is considered an improvement though it has a
shorter season than ‘Amiral Avellan.’ It is larger, enjoying freer flowering and a unique perfume.
Princess de Galles
The most famous violet ever known and grown. Giant, lilac-blue flowers often up to 2’ across with
broad petals set close together. They are borne on wiry stems of a very good length. The
flowers are very fragrant and vigorous.
Princess of Prussia
Named by its raiser, Mr. George Lee of Clevedon, Avon (UK) after Her Royal Highness Princess Victoria,
eldest daughter of Queen Victoria who married Frederick, Emperor of Prussia in 1858. Rich purple
flowers on good stems, and with a nice perfume.
A selection from the wild in cultivation since the 1700s, and originally grown for the markets of
Paris. Over the years, the early growers managed to obtain a fixed strain of this
wilding. In 1835, M. Jean Chevillon of Fontenay-aux-Roses, near Paris, obtained a ‘Quatre Saisons’
violet which was almost perfect. It had dull violet colored flowers and a good perfume, all the
qualities of a good cut flower and the form that exists today.
Another cultivar named after Princess Alexandra, later wife of King Edward VII. Large ultramarine
flowers with a lovely perfume, on good long stems and an excellent early flowering variety.
Introduced from Germany at the turn of the century and named after Charlotte Sophia, daughter of William
Ferdinand, duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who married George III.
Raised by the Reverend Arthur Rawson of Bromley (Kent) who was a leading amateur horticulturalist in the
latter part of the 19th century. Introduced by Henry Cannell and Sons, Swanley (Kent)
in 1888. Ivory white flowers, small and delicate with a good perfume and neat green foliage.
This violet is very free- flowering during the spring months.
Believed to be a selection of the pink form of the common violet. Small, sweetly scented flowers
favored with free flowering make a pretty addition to the rock garden. Introduced by the
distinguished French firm of Paillet of Chatenay around 1880.
A profusely flowering violet that is at its best during the spring when it produces small purple scented
flowers. Something of an untidy plant if not kept well tended as it can produce numerous
A small, hardy violet with flowers of an indistinct pale blue, but with a stronger scent than any other
garden violet. The origins of this violet are something of a mystery, and described by Edward A.
Bunyard as the “Riviera violet” though Gertrude Jekyll claimed that ‘it was given to her by an
old lady’ in the village she lived in. An unusual cultivar, giving its best in a rock garden.
Souvenir de ma Fille
Raised by Armand Millet in 1912 and named after his beloved daughter, Armandine, who had died on the
10th July of the same year although it was not introduced until 1914. Lovely, intense
blue flowers on long stems with a good perfume. The flowers are nearly as big as those of
‘Princess of Galles’ and are produced in profusion especially under glass in colder districts.
Souvenir de Jules Josse
Supposedly introduced around the turn of the century by a grower in the Midi region of France.
Reddish-purple flowers with a distinct white eye, which are quite large and with a neat habit.
Named after the wife of Joseph (Pip) Whitaker, who found it growing in the garden of their villa,
Malfitone in Palermo, Sicily. It would seem to have been sent to friends of the Whitakers in
Kent (England) sometime around 1903. It was eventually acquired by Mr. Baldwin Pinney on his
nursery at Marehurst, nr Tonbridge (Kent) and exhibited at a meeting of the Royal Horticultural Society
Flowers are huge and very fragrant, and of a pure amethyst color. It makes a vigorous plant with
many crowns although it needs to be grown in a frame to achieve good results.
The original was a true “Russian” violet, a cross between ‘Czar’ and ‘Devoniensis’ raised by George Lee in
1873. Large violet-purple flowers, which can fade to a dark blue with age. It is an early
violet with long stems, forming a medium sized sturdy plant. Named after Queen Victoria whom Lee
sent a bunch every year on her birthday.
Named after the famous nursery of Grace and George Zambra where it originated in the 1930s. A sport
from ‘Lianne’ with rich rosy-red flowers, very sweetly scented, and on good stems. It is a prolific
grower with a lovely color that does well under glass.
Raised by Mr. Wells who was a gardener at Fern Hills, near Windsor and introduced in 1889. An
improved form of ‘Czar Bleu,’ it is an extremely robust and sturdy plant with mid-blue
Countess of Shaftesbury
Raised by J.J. Kettle at Corfe Muller (Dorset) and introduced in 1928. It was reputedly found
growing as a seedling amongst a bed of ‘Princess de Galles,’ which is almost certainly the parent.
The cultivar was named after the wife of the 9th Earl of Shaftesbury, a near neighbor of
Kettle’s. Large, bluish-purple flowers which have a very attractive center rosette of blue and rose.
It is highly scented on long stems though it can be something of a straggly plant.
Mrs. David Lloyd
Mrs. David Lloyd George
Introduced in 1915 and named after the wife of the future Prime Minister who obviously, enjoyed the support
of the Kettle family. Another very attractive cultivar with violet-blue outer petals and an inner
rosette of white and lavender, highly scented flowers on long stems and with neat, vibrant green foliage.
Reine des Blanches
The cultivar sold under this name would appear to be somewhat different to the one originally introduced.
Given the descriptions we have for it, this semi-double form, as it exists today, suggests that quite
possibly, it is not the original version.
Blanche de Chevreuse
An interesting violet in that the buds which are a blush pink, open to reveal pure white blooms which are
flushed with pink in the center as it ages. A good variety for producing late spring flowers under glass.
It does not produce many runners and is therefore, a very neat plant. Unfortunately, this violet is susceptible
to mildew, which is its only real flaw.
Comte de Chambord
This variety has very large blooms for a double violet. Although the color is rather disappointing (a dirty white) it
is scented and hardy, and it performs best in spring with a few odd blooms in the fall, if you are lucky. Listed sometimes
as 'French Grey.'
An ancient cultivar, grown for centuries and possessing a charm all of its own, re-introduced around twenty-five years ago.
While it does not appear in commercial catalogs it is believed it is still around. At the beginning of the XIX century, the
French tried to grow this violet for the markets but it was found to be "not pleasing in bunches."
Another of the ancient cultivars, and known for centuries. The flowers are a coppery red. An extremely rare violet and
jealously guarded in a few private collections. As is the case of other old varieties, it produces an abundance of seed.
This is the cultivar that has wrongly been named 'Hopleys White' or 'Hopleys Double White' and mentioned by such luminaries as
Sir Francis Bacon. A good violet that is very hardy, compact and produces an abundance of seed. A lovely violet for any collection.