The common blue violet (Viola sororia), also called dooryard violet, meadow violet, or sister violet, is overlooked by many gardeners these days, perhaps because it shows up uninvited in lawns and gardens, but back in the day it was beloved, and it has been the state flower of Illinois for 100 years, following a 1907 contest in which it was selected by Illinois schoolchildren. Featured in the Botanic Gardens Native Plant Garden, and approved for Illinois highway planting by the Federal Highway Administration, its valentine-shaped leaves and pretty little deep purple blooms can be found throughout the upper midwest. Years ago, rather than throw out all the violets I plucked from my lawn, I started re-planting the beefier-looking specimens near the bottom of my deck stairs, and I've been rewarded with showy, bushy masses that produce bigger leaves and more blossoms than the little lurkers that try to sneak into places they're unwelcome.