Floradania.dk: An early start to the joys of the garden

An early start to the joys of the garden

Snow, coldness and frost - we′ve had plenty of winter this year. But no matter what, spring is on its way so why not look forward to enjoying decorating your outdoor containers with pansies at the entrance or on the patio. And should King Frost reappear, he can do no harm since all types of pansies tolerate frost

Classic garden pansy, Viola x wittrockiana, is one of the first outdoor plants and a true spring harbinger with its large, violet-like flowers in plain or mixed colours. Garden pansy flowers from March to June and thrives excellently in full sunlight in window boxes and containers.

Jens Christoffersen, who runs the Gartneriet Landstedet nursery, near Odense, is one of the producers in Denmark with the widest range of violets.

-          Our large-flowered garden pansy is called 'Viktoriana' and each year, we introduce 15-20 new colours in this series. Especially the strong, bright colours are popular, with lilac and pink as top scorers. However, we also produce some rather special types such as the large-flowered garden pansy, 'Frizzle Sizzle', with its characteristic variegated flower heads, as well as types in shimmering colours,

Jens Christoffersen says.

Revolutionary violet
Within the small, sweet horned violets, Viola cornuta, with its characteristic profusion of small, lovely flowers, a 'revolutionary new plant' is in the pipeline, according to Jens Christoffersen.

-          This year, we will introduce a completely new series called 'Deltini'. This series consists of flat growing plants forming giant, flat cushions which are ideal for containers.

The horned violet colour range comprises more than 100 colour shades. Other, more special types are also available such as a large-flowered, sweet-scented horned violet which will be introduced a little later; in return, it lasts longer.

Sweet-scented violets
Sweet violet, Viola odorata, is another type, growing wild in gardens and thickets. It is also produced in Denmark in limited, available quantities. The flowers have a wonderful sweet scent which will add a true atmosphere of spring to your containers or window boxes.

As mentioned, violets thrive excellently under open skies when the temperature is below freezing point. They can also be planted together with other winter-hardy, seasonal plants such as bulbous plants or small, evergreen shrubs that also tolerate low temperatures. This way, cosy miniature gardens can be created in containers to get an early start on the new garden season.

Australian violet
A little later in the season, from mid-April, Australian violet, Viola hederacea, will appear. It is a relatively new, ornamental perennial in Europe. Australian violet tolerates temperatures from room temperature to temperatures below freezing point and is therefore ideal for use indoors as well as outdoors. The plant withers completely during winter where it is a good idea to cover it with sprigs of spruce or the like. New shoots and leaves will not appear until late May. Therefore, mark the place in your garden where the violet has been planted.

Why pansy is called 'stepmother' in Danish
The bottom petals of the 'stepmother' flower represent the stepmother sprawling on two chairs (the sepals). In her lap, she has a bowl of porridge with a large knob of butter (the yellow spot at the petal claw). The stepmother′s own children (the two middle petals) sit on their own chairs near the butter while her stepchildren (the two darker, dreary coloured top petals) sit farthest away, having to share a chair, i.e. a single sepal.

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