Did you know that the U.K.’s largest pansy and viola trial garden is in Essex, and you everyone can visit it! Meadowcroft Gardeb Centre have long been synonymous with this colourful winter garden plant, and each year they host a large trial of some of the newest varieties, as well as comparing many tried and tested types.
Not only is it a colour festival, but you can learn a lot, and compare varieties for yourself. You can’t resist but fill a basket (or trolley) with some of these colourful gems… and, right here, you’ll see my pick of the bunch!
All Viola are sown from seed on 27 September 2021, and Pansies on 11 October.
The display is from Saturday 12 March to Sunday 20 March – and you can find out more here.
Pansy Freefall XL Fire
A stretchy stretchy Pansy, which covers the ground quickly, and works well in baskets and window boxes. The colour combos vary a bit, but it’s a pleasure, especially when they’re this gorgeous!
Pansy Cats Series
I love these, they are refreshing different, without any blotch, but plenty of sexy stripes. Huge flowers that stand up to all weathers too!
Pansy Inspire Red White Blotch
These need better names, don’t they? How about ‘Cranberry Cream’? A classic colour combo, which is certainly an eye-catcher.
Pansy Inspire Purple and Orange
Don’t @ me regarding the name again… but it’s a classy combos first seen in the variety ‘Joker’. Inspire is a strong series, with flowering performance and cold weather tolerance.
Pansy Matrix Morpheus
Matrix are some of the best branching types in the market, and ‘Morpheus’ is a leading colour.
Viola Endurio Blue Face
Bred for rockeries and ground cover, you may get blooms smaller than a Pansy, but you get twice as many. Just check out the branching on these fab plants!
Viola Floral Power Raspberry
Another great carpeting viola, which hugs the ground. Think how great they’d look in a window box, or on little terracotta pots on an outdoor table!
Viola Bel Viso Blueberry Swirl
Delft blue colours, 80s denim, whatever it is, I love it! Think of it with some sexy golden diffs bursting through!
Viola Corina Honeybee
It looks like a bee, and smells of honey, what else would they name it? Incredibly popular on the old telly sales, and in garden centres too, it seems.
Viola Sorbet Tiger Eye
Enjoying a revival in recent years, I remember selling many years ago. Although other colours exist, they’re as rare as hen’s teeth!
Viola Sorbet XP Neptune
Watercolour Violas are always a winner for me. I might even be racy and try this as an indoor plant.
Pansy Premier Beacon Rose
Premier Series is a commercial grade variety, with clear blooms, held on strong stems, and with icy resistance!
Viola Bel Viso Pineapple Crush
Voted top by visitors to the trial gardens last year, I think customers knew what they were doing when they put an X in the Pineapple Crush box! Another beaut.
Pansy Colossus Series
Billed as the largest blooming types, this one seems to be winking!
Viola Sorbet XP Deep Orange
One of the most fabled colours, hardest to breed, but with the most striking colours, and scent. Sorbet is the premier series of Viola, with more colours than you can shake a damp Petunia at!
Pansy Premier Blueberry Thrill
Another decadent pansy, with big clear blooms. Set to brighten up the dullest time of year in your garden.
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook – and writes a plant-focused Substack called Grow This, Not That.