The American Violet Society

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Annual meetings and violet workshops are one of the most important goals for The American Violet Society.  As in the past, these gatherings enhance our knowledge of the genus Viola, encourage friendship and the exchange of  information.  At these meetings, attendees are provided with the latest papers on the state of violet research. Other activities include workshops, arts and crafts, plants and seed exchanges, culinary ideas and literature.  The AVS will strive to hold as many as possible within the coming year and in different regions.  Right now we in the process of organizing a couple of field trips with the purpose of encouraging discovery of wild species and identification.  Similarly, our staff is available to hold introductory violet presentations/workshops at garden clubs and other horticultural organizations.  For further information, please contact:  The American Violet Society.
Coming Events
Saturday, April 21, 2001
The American Violet Society's 2001
Annual Spring Outing
Led by Gary W. Sherwin
(Webmaster and wild-plant expert)
Featuring:  Road, Trail and Woodland Tours

            In an area full of history, where George Washington honed his skills of leadership during the French and Indian Wars...  In  the very valleys where Washington allegedly shot Jummonville and where legend tells of golden treasure...  Of treasure, hidden in the hills by Colonel Dunbar after he and other deserters absconded and hid the gold coin wages meant to pay General Braddock's Troops...  Among the  ridges of charcoal, coal, iron, limestone, water and clay, where our nation's "Age of Steel" had its birth.

           The American Violet Society establishes a new tradition by presenting an outing of unparalleled natural beauty and diversity in a location that is central for all our members in northeastern United States.

"Uncovering Violet Treasures" In The Dunbar Hills
At a new venue, Southwestern Pennsylvania's
Dunbar Creek Valley

Viola fimbriatula
Viola rostrata

             The ridges of the "Dunbar Hills" are the southern range limit of many northern species and the valleys are the northern range limit of many southern ones.  Consequently, there are few places with the diversity of species present in the Dunbar Watershed.  An astounding variety of violets can be found hiding there.  We will visit Pennsylvania State Game Lands # 51; a 17,000 acre publicly protected reserve, where nearly every turn brings another microclimate into view.

             Join us for a series of morning and afternoon tours.  We'll eat breakfast at Pechin's Market (Written about in New York Times and Wall Street Journal).  Don't miss the special lunchtime surprise, included in the $10.00 reservation fee.  WE AREN'T TELLING!  Then, we will top the day off with dinner together at a local restaurant. (Individual Checks)

Viola rotundifolia
Mr. Sherwin Crossing Dunbar Creek

More details to follow. (Hotels, Sites to See, Restaurants...)
See You There.

For registration and additional information, please write:



For travel and tourist information on Fayette County, Pennsylvania  please visit:

See Fayette Forward
See Fay-West Online

We do look forward to seeing you there!

Previous Events
Saturday, November 11, 2000
2:00 pm
"Tea & Violets"™ at the National Cathedral Wisconsin and Massachusetts Avenues, NW Washington, D.C.

And no...This is not a new mystery novel by acclaimed writer and Washington DC insider Margaret Truman


The American Violet Society's 2000 Annual Fall Meeting
At a new venue, Washington, DC's National Cathedral

Event Report By Elizabeth Scott

             The venue for this November 11 violet event was indeed small and intimate, and consequently, with regard to attendees versus capacity, not a huge success, but in every other way it was outstanding and unforgettable.

             When you enter the front door of the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. you know you are not going to be attending any ordinary meeting. The cathedral is on a hill (yes, once you get away from the swamp where downtown was built, there are hills in Washington), and we were on the seventh floor, in one of the towers so we had a fantastic view of the whole city and the gardens below framed by the pinnacles of the cathedral's roof. Not a view every visitor to D.C. gets to see!


             The first speaker was Professor Vigen Guroian, author of the beautiful book of essays called Inheriting Paradise. He spoke of his personal love of violets dating from childhood and told us that violets were traditionally used to represent both the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus, as a symbol of humility and a springtime symbol of rebirth. Violet is the liturgical color for Advent, the season of the disappearance of the sun and the green world but also the season that leads up to the joyous Christmas birth and the New Year. He said that spring is with us now but is underground, sleeping, an idea I found very comforting.

             Professor Guroian noted that humus and humility are from the same root word. In her presentation, Norma Beredjiklian spoke about the sad decline in popularity of the violet since its 19th and early 20th century height, and I would suggest that decline of the violet and the decline in popularity of the virtue of humility may be related. In the present time of ever bigger houses, cars, salaries and egos, a renewal of interest in violets would be a positive development indeed.


             Kim Blaxland showed us slides of American native violets. What a treat! Her photography of violets is on the same level as her knowledge of violets, and we saw photos from all over the country. The West Coast seems to have more yellow violets than we do here in the east, and very beautiful ones. We saw a slide of a recently discovered (1990) violet on a cliff face in Zion Canyon in Utah, not a place where you might expect violets. And if you had been there you could have asked her some of your own questions about identification.


             Our next speaker was AVS member Jim Gallion of the National Wildlife Federation. We know about the necessity for preserving woodlands and prairies, but Jim's principal field of endeavor is the smaller scale but equally important goal of preserving backyard habitat. He spoke of the importance of planting our yards to provide shelter, nesting space and food in order to create corridors for wildlife between the larger woodland areas, and urged us to reduce the amount of lawn we have (less grass and more violets!). This decreases the amount of work you have to do and greatly increases the number of birds and butterflies you see. There is a website,, that would be helpful if you want ideas for making your yard more creature-friendly.


             Then we had a violet tea, and although I am a tea lover and patron of tea shops wherever I go, I have never attended a more elegant tea. The scented tea was from Mariage Freres in Paris; we had finger sandwiches and cookies and the piece de resistance was a beautiful violet-decorated cake with American Violet Society inscribed on it, in violet of course. A delightful time was had by all.

             Even though it is November and violet season is past in this part of the country, we had violets from California to look at. Canyon Creek Nursery in Oroville, California had sent a number of plants: Mme. Armandine Pages, Princess of Wales, Mrs. David Lloyd George and others, and we each took home a violet bouquet from the Garibaldi family, violet growers in Northern California.

             We all know what a superb organizer Norma is. We are fortunate to have her skills directed toward building the AVS. Now I can assure you that she is just as superb as an event planner, and the next time she plans one, I urge you to make every effort to attend. You will be glad you did.

May 20, 2000 Spring Garden Day / Plant Sale 
Green Spring Gardens Park
4603 Green Spring Road
Alexandria, Virginia 22312
At this annual, well regarded event, sponsored by the Friends of Green Spring Park. Hundreds of horticultural organizations, nurseries and experts from the Washington Metropolitan area and beyond were there to exchange information about your favorite plants. .

For additional information, please contact:

April 28-29, 2000 Greenbrier State Forest
White Sulphur Springs, WV
“Spring Field Trip” – Spring is certainly the time to look for violets! And what better spot than the Greenbrier State Forest in West Virginia! 

The AVS was very proud to join the Old White Garden Club & Greenbrier State Forest's 35th Annual Show-Me-Hike spring explorations with an emphasis on finding and identifying between 100-125 different flowering species of wildflowers, including local violets

AVS members, together with your cameras, journal books and other appropriate equipment participated in an array of tours, conducted by professional guides and designed to fit the atendee's botanical interests. Various tours were made available, according to hiking abilities and time length from: difficult/moderately difficult/easy and from 6 to 2 hours in duration. There was also a children's program. One important attraction for violet enthusiasts was the "Shale Barren" tour. This tour afforded the opportunity to observe, first hand, the 'Bird's Foot' violet, native to this habitat.

NO CHARGE for tours within the Forest. Transportation by van is included in designated tours.
Not included: Transportation to/from White Sulphur Springs (WV), accommodations and meals.

February 10, 2000 Manassas, VA
“The Return of the Violet” – violet workshop conducted by Norma Beredjiklian, AVS – Vice President/East Coast (USA) for the General Meeting of the Centennial Garden Club, Manassas, VA

February 26-28, 1999 Toulouse, France
5th International Violet Conference sponsored by the International Violet Association and organized by“Les Amis de la Violette”and the City of Toulouse.

March 1998 New York, NY. USA
Organized by the International Violet Association and hosted by the Horticultural Society of New York. – Cancelled.

March / April 1997 Devon, United Kingdom
International symposium organized by the International Violet Association (British chapter) and sponsored by the city of Dawlish (Devon).

March 6, 1996 San Francisco, CA. USA
International symposium organized by the International Violet Association and sponsored by Ano Nuevo Flower Growers (Pescadero, CA) and Canyon Creek Nursery (Oroville, CA)  held at the Hall of Flowers, San Francisco Golden Gate Park.

May 6, 1995 Washington, D.C. USA
First international symposium organized by the International Violet Association and held at The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.         View Report Of Symposium
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