On February 4-6, the French city of Toulouse will host another festival dedicated to a modest but invariably cute houseplant, the Uzambarian violet. Toulouse Violet Festival takes place annually in the “pink city” and has long been one of its symbols.
Second home of violets
The first organization, uniting senpole lovers, appeared here in 1901 – only 9 years after the discovery of the plant in the mountains of Kenya and Tanzania. And 22 years later, in 1923, a second cooperative appeared. For more than 80 years these two organizations were the only ones in the field of cultivation and breeding of violets, and the flower owes its popularity to them. Not surprisingly, the term “Toulouse violet” has quite successfully caught on, and the city itself is also referred to as the capital of this flower.
At that time, about 600 farmers in the north of Toulouse were engaged in cultivation of senpollias. Plants were sent to Paris, Northern European countries (including Russia) and even Canada. Winter cold weather posed a serious threat to crop farms, causing viral and fungal diseases. An effective solution was the emergence of greenhouses, where violets received ideal conditions, and the labor of breeders yielded the best results.
Since 1960, the senpole has been the emblem of Toulouse. In addition to its purely decorative functions, the flower has a strong position in the production of perfumes, sweets and liqueurs. In 2003, the association “Land of the Violet”, created in order to find new markets, officially approved the Violet Festival, one of today’s most popular flower festivals.
The violet festival is fun for everyone
The main mass of visitors are, of course, scientists, botanists and growers from various countries, who come to share experiences and present new varieties of plants.
However, the event does not focus only on the scientific audience: for two days, Toulouse turns into a sea of flowers, offering its guests numerous exhibitions, fairs of flowers and related products, thematic attractions and competitions, excursions to the city’s greenhouses, where a collection of varieties from around the world.
In addition to flowers, you can buy senpole seeds, bouquets, medical compositions and perfumes based on the flower, culinary products and original liqueurs and wines at the festival.