March is the perfect time for a garden spring clean after the winter, re-invigorating and livening up existing flower beds, borders and containers.? This makes pansies and violas the ideal choice for the HTA?s Plant of the Month for March.
Pansies are the perfect spring plants – along with primulas, forget-me-nots and wallflowers and are perfect contenders for patio pots, hanging baskets and window boxes, ideal and easy to plant under the HTA?s It Starts with a Pot campaign.
Pansies and violas are two of the most popular bedding plants and are great for filling the gaps in borders once you have cleared away bedraggled or dead plants.? Their names are often used interchangeably. Plants considered to be pansies have four petals pointing upwards, and only one pointing down. Violets have three petals pointing up and two pointing down.
Pansies and violas are two of the easiest instant colour plants for this time of year and are much loved by broadcaster and gardener, Esther Rantzen CBE, the celebrity champion for the month.
?I love pansies for their soft colours, all the shades of blues, purples and gold?s? she says, ?and for their faces, turned down, as if in contemplation, as Ophelia said, ?There?s pansies, that?s for thoughts? ? and indeed the name comes from the French word, pensee, to think.? They look fragile, but in fact they are tough, they can survive anything except the burning summer heat, and they seed themselves and return, year after year.??? And outside the garden wall their little wild cousins, the violets, send out their fragrance to reassure us that spring is on its way.?
Popular varieties recommended by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) AGM include:
Viola Cornuta Alba
Viola Huntercombe Purple
Nominated and agreed upon by British growers and retailers, the HTA?s Plant of the Month campaign highlights the plants that are widely available and looking especially good each month.
For more details, please visit www.the-hta.org.uk/plantofthemonth
Plant of the Month point of sale materials can be purchased through HTA partners Hortipak and Floramedia.
Special thanks to Burston Nurseries for supplying the pansies, violas and pot for this shoot.