The Violet Gazette

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Written by:  Annebelle Rice, AVS President.
© 2000 All Rights Reserved.

Volume 1, Number 4
Autumn 2000
On line Version


Violet Journeys

Annebelle Rice, AVS President, reports on her summer 2000 trip through the US East Coast.

             The month of June was very special for me as President of The American Violet Society. In my travels to the East Coast I was able to see Viola odorata in the Bishop's Garden at the National Cathedral, in The Herb Garden at The National Arboretum, and in the Enid Haupt Garden at The Smithsonian in Washington DC. Across the Potomac River, in Norma Beredjiklian's garden located in Herndon, Virginia. While in the New York area, at the New York Botanical Gardens, The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and Central Park in New York City; and in sidewalk gardens in Brooklyn. And on my excursion to the Hudson River Valley area, growing wild against a stone wall at the home of Kay Verrilli in Rhinebeck, New York.

             Granted, I was looking for violets in all these places, but I DID find them everywhere I looked. Oh, did I forget to mention the herb gardens at The Cloisters (New York)?.

             As satisfying and enjoyable as it is to discover violets, the highlight of my trip was my visit to the town of Rhinebeck, New York, and the former Center of the Violet Industry in America from 1895 to 1950. My host and guide was Kay Verrilli, with whom the former IVA had had correspondence in 1997 when she executed an exhibit of the History of the Violet Industry at the Rhinebeck's historic Quitman House.

Kay Verrilli at historical violet display
Kay Verrilli at historical violet display housed at E.A. Coon Florist
Rhinebeck, New York (June 2000) Courtesy of Annebelle Rice

             Kay was kind enough to meet my train and to take me to the sites of the greenhouses and businesses, and provide me with materials that had been part of the exhibit. I was able to photograph the last violets remaining in one of the original greenhouses. This was the business of F. W. Battenfeld & Son, in the neighboring town of Red Hook. Their business continues, but with hybrid anemones and Christmas trees. However, they still grow one row of Viola odorata each year.

             Kay Verrilli's efforts to record the history of violets in Rhinebeck for the exhibit has provided a great service to violet lovers everywhere. She gleaned articles from The Rhinebeck Gazette, collected photos and artifacts, and compiled a booklet of "Violet Notes."

             I am pleased we are able to share these materials with violet enthusiasts worldwide through this Fall 2000 issue of The Violet Gazette as part of the Violet Growing in America feature.

             .And, our special thanks to Kay Verrilli for this treasure trove of violet lore.

© 2000 Annebelle Rice, President
The American Violet Society
All Rights Reserved

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