Springtime Viola Basket

 springtime basket

Violas are my springtime favorite flower. Fragrant, happy faces gaze up at you and tell you that spring has sprung. These budget blooms come in a rainbow of hues, the usual blues, violets, and yellow- but also, browns, reds and burnt orange. Ease of growing in cool weather means that violas will pair well  with other cool season flowers, such as diascia, lobularia, lettuce, parsley, verbenas, succulents, and other early blooming annuals.

Violas and pansies in the greenhouse

Violas and pansies in the greenhouse

And fragrance! Most people don’t realize the perfume of lots of pansies and violas grouped together in mass. But the fragrance  is phenomenal.

A single variety of violas filling a pot can be beautiful

A single variety of violas filling a pot can be beautiful and fragrant

Violas play well with other plants

Violas play well with other plants

Pansies vs Violas

Many people get confused with the differences between these two very similar flowers. Pansies have a distinctive blotching that resembles a face. They also have more compact growth than violets and larger leaves with fewer and larger flowers.

Pink Pansy

Pink Pansy

Violas, often called “Johnny-Jump-Ups”, are more winter hardy and durable in the landscape, and I prefer them for their versatility. The flowers are smaller but more prolific and can cover the plant with color.  Many Violas have transitioned from the smaller Violas over the years to the beautiful large-flowered Pansy varieties through the efforts of gardeners and hybridizers. But I still love the Violas for their sheer number of blooms per plant.

Violas come in brown shades

Violas come in brown shades

Beautifully marked viola

Beautifully marked Viola

Viola Etain

Viola Etain

Violas

Unnamed Violas

Edible leaves and flowers high in Vitamin A and C, the Pansy and Viola flowers impart a strong flavor and are used to make syrups, flavored honey and as a garnish for salads. Go to my post on Edible Flowers for more information on how to use them.

An array of edible flowers

An array of edible flowers

Edible flowers garnishing a salad

Edible flowers garnishing a salad

Easy to grow in sun or partial shade with plenty of moisture, the plants will fade when the days get hot, so I enjoy them from March to June. In containers when they fade, I replace them with heat lovers, like lantanas and petunias.

Violas planted with lettuce

Violas and pansies planted with lettuce

Violas adding color to a planted table

Violas adding color to a Planted table

Centerpiece Magic

Using Violas or Pansies in centerpieces or as a hostess gift is easy. Start with a low tray; I used a narrow tin tray with shallow sides.

Long tin container

Long tin container

Once you remove your Violas from the market pack, slice off half of the root ball and remove some of the soil clinging to the root ball. This makes the task of fitting lots of plants for maximum color into the container easier.

Slice off half of the root ball

Slice off half of the root ball

Start filling the tin container with the Violas and pack them in tightly for maximum impact.

Start filling up the container with as many violas as will fit

Start filling up the container with as many Violas as will fit

Using green sheet moss, tuck this into all the nooks and crannies and moisten everything with a mister. Don’t water too much as there are no drainage holes and you don’t want the flowers to sit in a puddle of water. Start adding your accessories. For my basket handle, I cut some pussy willow and bent it into a handle shape and stuck the ends into the soil at each side of the container.

I used a rabbit wine stopper, fake wired butterfly, fake mushrooms, and a birds nest. For the handle I used pussy willow.

I used a rabbit wine stopper, fake wired butterfly, fake mushrooms, and a bird’s nest. For the handle I used pussy willow

Keep the planting medium moist- not sopping wet- and this centerpiece will last for 6 weeks or more.

Fill in with your accessories. I added the bunny last

Fill in with your accessories. I added the bunny last

Centerpiece done!

Centerpiece done!

About thegardendiaries

Claire Jones is a landscape and floral designer and owner of Claire Jones Landscapes, LLC. She designs and helps people to create their own personal outdoor oasis and loves to write about her gardening failures and successes.
This entry was posted in Container gardening, gardening, Gardening crafts, Plant portraits and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Springtime Viola Basket

  1. Linda T says:

    Beautiful!!! Thanks Claire. The pictures are also beautiful!

    Like

  2. There isn’t anything on this page I don’t love!!!! You are one talented woman! I’m going to get effusive if I don’t quit now. 🙂

    Like

  3. Anonymous says:

    So lovely! Thanks for sharing your gift

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: All Season Containers | The Garden Diaries

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