Steeped in history and folklore, these small but powerfully evocative plants have long since been prized for their fragrance and the appearance of their first blooms are eagerly anticipated, signalling the approach of spring. To clarify, violets are part of the larger viola family but they are ground covering plants with small but often heavily perfumed flowers which generally can be found growing in woodland areas or neatly tucked away at the base of garden shrubs. They will happily colonise difficult sites with low or dappled light and can squeeze through between cracks in rockeries. Flowers are produced in such abundance that a favourite use is to harvest a small bunch, collar it with a foil of their own foliage and then the small but powerfully perfumed posy is able to be enjoyed indoors.

Violas are often called by the common name of ‘pansy’ and are much showier with larger, cheery blooms in a wide range of colours. Violas can be annual, where a floral show is for one season only, or, as are the varieties in our collection, they can be perennial – meaning given care over the warmer months you can have them re-blooming the following year and so on. Their profuse flowering brings a solid display of bright colour from mid winter right through spring. A light fragrance is also common and as such planting them close to paths, doorways and entertainment areas will add another level of pleasure they can bring. Violas and violets are classic and reliably performing choices for interest in the cool climate garden and are happy to perform either in gardens or containers.