Best of the bunch
●● 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.