It’s easy to love the tiny violas known as Johnny-jump-ups. They are old British and European flowers that stand up to inclement weather like this year’s delayed spring. It’s probably because they are very close to the original wildflower strain and grow just as easily, self sowing in gardens everywhere.
Johnny-jump-ups like all violas bear edible flowers. Pluck them and add to salads or as garnish for plenty of color in the kitchen. Buy this seed online at Gurneys http://gurneys.com/default.asp
These are just one of the many varieties of viola you’ll see today. Unlike overly large flowers of pansies that can’t hold their own weight and flop in the mud when it rains, smaller violas are more well behaved. In difficult weather years they’re more likely to survive late cold or snow than the high bred pansies. Yet because their flowers are smaller they’re too often overlooked.
Tiger Eye Viola looks more like an exotic orchid than an ordinary garden flower. Grow your own from seed purchased online at Park Seed (See Cool Links).
From the Park Seed Catalog come a couple of really stellar new cultivars that illustrate what’s happened to violas over the past few decades. They also illustrate what exotic looks you can find if you grow your own from seed, which is quite easy.
A small flowered Viola ‘Bowls Black’ is an old heirloom varieties that doesn’t appeal to everyone. But grow these to pluck and press in old books to later add to cards and letters for your own personalized correspondence. This seed and many other fabulous old flowers are available from an excellent heirloom catalog:
Select Seeds and Antique Flowers http://www.selectseeds.com/