My 'Duchesse de Parme' Parma violets (Viola 'Duchesse de Parme') are beginning to bloom and even though they are tiny they are lovely and deliciously fragrant.
Viola 'Duchesse de Parme'
This is actually the second time I have tried my luck with Parma violets. The first time was many years ago when I was still a kid in Germany, and the two plants I had then died on me rather quickly. My current attempt at their cultivation began last spring, so I am definitely doing a bit better this time, though I still find them to be quite a challenge. I started with one plant each of the three varieties offered by Select Seeds, 'Duchesse de Parme', 'Marie Louise', and 'Comte de Brazza'. They grew well over the summer and by fall I had six big pots full. Inside in a cool, bright spot for the winter, however, they began declining rather precipitously with some sort of viral or fungal infection. One pot I had to discard entirely, and two I planted out in the garden as soon as the weather warmed up the teensiest bit, while the remaining two that stayed in slightly better shape are now back on the shady side of the balcony. The plants in the garden are the first to flower; hopefully those on the balcony will follow suit.