Best of the bunch

Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE -

●● VI­O­LAS GAR­DEN cen­tres are awash with them at this time of year, their dainty blooms pro­vid­ing a wel­come splash of colour to pa­tio pots, rock­eries and at the front of beds.

The plants may die back in the depths of win­ter but hope­fully come back to life in spring.

Vi­o­las are much dain­tier than brash, bold pan­sies which have large rounded blooms, of­ten with a ‘face’ or cen­tral black blotch.

But how do you tell a vi­ola from a pansy?

As a rule, pan­sies have big­ger flow­ers, elon­gated leaves with a sprawl­ing habit and flower with a short spur and lit­tle or no scent.

Bed­ding vi­o­las tend to have rounded leaves, short-jointed stems, long flower spurs and fra­grance.

They like welldrained but mois­tur­ere­ten­tive soil in sun or part shade and come in a huge va­ri­ety of colours, which may be plain, blotched or bi­coloured.

A won­der­ful win­ter and spring flow­er­ing va­ri­ety is the weath­er­re­sis­tant Sor­bet Se­ries, which in­cludes many won­der­ful bi­colours.

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