A tough little viola has been crowned one of the new kings of the annual garden by the prestigious All-America Selections committee. Every winter for the past 75 years, the committee has picked the best new plants for home gardeners after extensive nationwide trials.
For 2010, the AAS committee has chosen four annuals — Gaillardia ‘Mesa Yellow,’ Snapdragon ‘Twinny Peach,’ Viola ‘Endurio Sky Blue Martien’ and Zinnia ‘Zahara Starlight Rose’ — and we’re taking a closer look each week at one of the winners.
This week, we’re highlighting the colorful new viola. (To see the articles on the gaillardia and snapdragon, visit www.lohud.com/gardening or search for them here on the blog.)
Seasoned gardeners have learned to treasure the color blue. It’s an uncommon color in flowers — and it mixes well with so many other colors in garden beds and borders. The AAS judges clearly thought this new sky-blue viola with purple edges was a blue worth keeping.
(photo from AAS)
Known botanically as Viola cornuta ‘Endurio Sky Blue Martien,’ this softly mounding new annual with delicate 1-inch blooms should flower from spring through fall. Common names for this class of violas include horned violet, bedding pansy and Johnny jump-up.
By any name, these violas are tough customers that can easily handle chilling frosts in April and November, months when you wouldn’t dream of leaving most other annuals out in the cold.
‘Endurio Sky Blue Martien’ is great in containers, growing 6 inches tall and spreading 10 to 12 inches wide.
Look for this winning new viola at the better garden centers in spring or try growing it from seed from mail-order sources such as Harris Seeds, J.W. Jung Seed Co., Park Seed or Stokes Seeds Ltd.
For a look at other All-America Selections winners, visit www.all-americaselections.org. In this cold and dreary weather, it’s a swell time to stay indoors and make grand plans for your spring garden.