Little purple treasures in the spring garden - heartsease and Iris innominata

The burgeoning of new growth can make springtime a bit overwhelming - all these visual delights!  It is also a time of reckoning - have my little treasures survived the rigours of life in the windy coastal site where I live? 

So far, so good.  A particular delight right now are some lovely purple Iris innominata flowers - my plant came from Hokonui Alpines, a special nursery in the South Island.

A much less sumptuous purple flower, and much more abundant, is heartsease - Viola tricolor - from which the much larger garden pansy was bred.  This is a herb which has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes and the flower is edible too - a charming garnish.  It might be small but it is very persistent.  I bought a plant from a herb nursery about thirty years ago.  A constant companion since then, it travels with me, seeding enough to mean it pops up wherever I and my plants have gone, but never to the point of being a pest. 

The self-fertile flowers can be purple, blue, yellow or white and from that one plant I have quite a mix.  I think of it as having a very cheerful perky presence.  It has lots of other names which suggest it has that impact on other people too - they include: heart's delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, come-and-cuddle-me, three faces in a hood, love-in-idleness, call-me-to-you, johnny jump up.  A little wild pansy with quite an impact!