VIOLA

P. The bedding violas embrace a wide colour range, including various shades of yellow, lavender, violet, purple, white etc. and numerous bi-colours. They have a longer flowering period than pansies and the individual blooms do not diminish in size as the season advances. Average height is about 6 in. Arkwright’s Ruby is terracotta-crimson, Purple Bedder wine-purple with a yellow eye, Campbell Banncrman deep blue, Kingcup deep yellow and Mrs Marrison mahogany and bronze. W H. Woodgate is soft lavender and Royal Sovereign deep yellow. For those who enjoy the unusual, Irish Molly is green and golden-bronze while Jackanapes has reddish-brown upper petals and yellow under petals. The strain known as Bambini is well worth a trial. It includes pastel pinks, red, purple, apricot, bronze etc., all the flowers having prominent gold centres with dark ivory rays. Viola seeds are sown in early spring in pans of loam, leaf mould and silver land, in a cold frame. Seedlings are pricked off into boxes immediately they are large enough to handle and planted out in late May. Seed of named varieties only produces a percentage of seedlings true to colour and type and cuttings should be taken in September. Cut back the plants a few weeks earlier and use the new basal shoots which generally root very easily.

Note the black viola or pansy which is almost black and comes fairly true from seed.

For the rockery, try Viola gracilis purpurea which is purple-blue or V. septentrionalis, white with blue markings. The latter appreciates a cool position.

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