VIOLAS AND PANSIES
A family whose daughters are noted for their beauties of complexion, figure, feature, and sweetness, will always attract a large following. Thefamily, with the Viola’s richness of colour, the Violetta’s grace of form, the Pansy’s lovely face, and the Violet’s sweetness, has become so popular that its fans are associated in a special Viola and Pansy Society. Every year the latest news of the developments and migrations, the triumphs and the new alliances among Violas are published by its Society.
Thus the West sends accounts of Pansy Shows in Michigan, and window-boxes full of Violas lovingly tended by the inhabitants of the crowded apartment houses of New York City; the Antipodes speaks of our well-known “Maggie Mott” as “the favourite Viola of Ballarat,” and Pansies, grown from English seed, flower for a splendid brief existence in the heat of Egypt and India. The sweet-scented Violet, on the other hand needed no dispersion by the hand of man, for it went into voluntary exile in Siberia before ever a Russian prisoner appeared there, it climbed the slopes of the Himalayas when a Mount Everest expedition would have been deemed a sacrilege, and decorated the grasslands of the United States when Washington’s Cherry Tree was yet uncut.
As a family, Violas are hardy, strong-growing, free-flowering perennials, and will thrive in borders or on the.
Questioners inquiring the difference between Viola and Pansy have only to note that a Pansy has a “face,” whereas a Viola is usually of a single colour.
A Pansy should, for Show purposes, be minus any wave in its edge, and its thick velvety petals should lie flat and smooth in a perfect circular form.
The brightness of its orange eye should be enhanced by a surrounding dark circular blotch, the three lower petals should also have a distinct belt, equally distant from the blotch in each petal, and the bloom must not measure less than 1-1/2 in. across. But for the ordinary gardener there are many other really beautiful pansies, with wavy edges, and heterodox markings, that will please his eye, though they may win him no prize.
The Show Viola should also be 1-1/2 in. in diameter, but of a clear bright colour without the vestige of a blotch. In rayed varieties, thin rays must be given equality of distribution on the lower and side petals, and though the whole flower should be a smooth round shape, the bottom petal must enlarge to take up almost half the surface, and nearly to cover the side petals, the top pair being evenly matched. The eye should be small, round, bright gold, and clearly defined.
For Violettas the prize-winning qualities are different. Fragrance is essential, but size may be only 1-1/2 in. Its shape must be narrow and oval, its petals smooth, of a good substance, and bright clear striking colour, neither ray nor blotch is tolerated, and its foliage will be small and bright with a bushy growth.
Amateurs will ask how to obtain these results. It will depend on (1) the variety of seed or cutting; (2) good cultivation; (3) arrangement for the Show Bench.
General methods of cultivation vary for the different species, e.g. while Violas are more usually propagated by, Pansies are normally grown from seed.