You may or may not have come across the last introduction from Thompson and Morgan:- Green Goddess. Described and indeed illustrated as the first green pansy (the Society would class it viola as it has rays rather than the pansy defining blotch) it has a yellow ground and an even belting of olive green. I am intrigued to know what was used in the breeding; I think that Irish Molly might be somewhere in its genes. Whatever, a definite achievement in colour terms. We must wait and see how it performs as a garden plant. However, it might be some time before I see it. Should one spend £50 or more you will receive a free Green Goddess, otherwise it will cost £17.99
Out in California, one of our favourite and most reliable violettas, Rebecca is being grown for the cut flower trade. Given its wonderful scent, floriferous nature and good strong sterns this must hardly come as a surprise. I am told that it is much in demand for weddings.
I have been fortunate enough to have something of a breakthrough in the colour of Fancy Pansies. With the demise of the variety 'Joe Millett', red margins were no more. By chance I noticed a red pansy on the showbench at Shrewsbury in 1998; although a little short of show quality it was a good deep red. At the breakdown of the Show I begged the bloom from the exhibitor. On arriving home I found that there was pollen and quickly dashed out to find a suitable recipient. As it happened the most suitable was a seedling of my own 'Gladys Hughes'. From the resulting crop I have selected 2, both red margin, one with a yellow ground, the other with a cream.
One I have named 'Rodney Fuller', a name familiar to all members as the author of the 'Complete Guide'. Rodney tells me that he does not grow anything like the number of violas that he once did, but is concentrating his skills on Helianthemum. The other I have named for a member and good friend who resides in Buxton: 'John Powell'. This variety is illustrated in the centrefold.
Two exhibition Violas resulted from an Ada Jackson x R.N. Denby cross. One a clear self is named 'Jacqueline Snocken' for my mother. Its bottom petal is a little weak but it is floriferous and of good habit
The other a silvery lilac with a white centre has been named 'Connor Glendinning' after my grandson; he liked the colour!
... but I have been contacted by an artist in Kent who wishes to paint pansies and violas to exhibit at an RHS Show. I shall be sending the lady plants and blooms in the Spring and look forward to seeing the resulting works. I think that what is most important is that good named varieties will get properly represented. All too often, I notice that violas and pansies are represented as a colourful posy in much artwork.
Moves are afoot to establish an International Register of names for the genus viola. This will include the melanium section, and I am glad to say, the Florists' varieties, as well as those for the garden.
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