WHAT IS IT?
Violas are the daintier but tougher cousin of the pansy. Perfect for adding colour to a dull, partially shady spot in your plot, they are compact enough to thrive under larger shrubs and plants as well as provide the perfect partnership to small bulbs for most of the year.
WHY WOULD YOU?
Thanks to a bunch of innovative plant breeders, these days violas are happy to put on a show with only the merest flash of sun during the shorter days, as well as coping in cold, wet and windy weather. They flower continuously, too – good news as some varieties are edible and can be added to salads, puddings and drinks.
WHY WOULDN’T YOU?
You might be turned off by the gaudy two-tone varieties generally on offer in your local supermarkets and DIY stores.
However, venture online and you’ll discover much more interesting varieties available from independent nurseries and specialists, such as boutsviolas.co.uk.
They can be susceptible to slugs and snails so be vigilant and pick the little blighters off when you see them. You can also try organic slug pellets to spoil their fun.