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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Viola Bunny Ears: New from Mr Fothergill's

Posted by Graham Rice on 31 Jul 2011 at 12:46 PM

Viola Bunny Ears, new from Mr Fothergill. Images © Mr Fothergill's SeedsA winter hardy viola, in a completely new flower form, is available now from Mr Fothergill's.

Click on the picture to enlarge it and you'll see that with their two upright petals, just like rabbits' ears as the name implies, this series of dainty little violas is not like anything we've seen before. And those narrow upright petals contrast in colour with the three lower petals creating a very lively look.

Originally developed in Japan, there are four Bunny Ears varieties so far and each is a distinct bicolour. The Google translation of their original Japanese names is actually rather appealing. From left to right in the picture (click to enlarge): "Akane main color", "Tico of the Valley of the Rainbow', "Mimo hare", and "This sun Lulu's Masquerade". I don't know about you, but I quite like the idea of growing a pretty little viola called "This sun Lulu's Masquerade". Mr Fothergill's list them under more descriptive names.

They all make bushy little plants 6-8in/15-20cm high, and three plants of one variety in a 12in/30cm terracotta pot by the front door would make a delightful welcome.

In recent years we've seen so many new violas and pansies with larger and larger flowers - which only flop and look sad in any sort of stress – that a new series with such pretty, but smaller flowers, produced in such generous numbers, is really appealing.

As well as its unique flower form, the Bunny Ears Series violas are winter hardy, have good heat tolerance in the summer and flower prolifically.

You can order the varieties individually, or in a collection, from Mr Fothergill's.

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