Viola cornuta Alba Group
Plant of the month: July
Also known as: Viola
Native to: Spain (Pyrenees)
Blooms: June, July and August
Habitat: Best grown in partial shade, in well-drained but moisture-retentive soil
Where is it found at BBG: Bottom of the Grass Garden/Story of Horticulture Garden
Originating from the Pyrenees this Viola is a superb garden plant. It produces pure white flowers, prolifically from the end of May and sometimes until the end of August. It is happiest in partial shade, which helps it stay moist and keeps the plant at its best. The white flowers show up beautifully in shady spots and can instantly breathe light into the dull corners of any garden. The flowers themselves are around 3cm wide and have slender spurs but to keep new buds forming you will need to give them a trim back once they have past their best. Viola cornuta Alba Group is an evergreen spreading perennial that has the ability to provide fantastic ground cover if it is happy.
This plant is a must for anybody that likes violas or pansies, this species is far more elegant than some of the large hybrids that are used in winter and spring bedding. The Viola that is commonly grown is Viola x wittrockiana (Garden Pansy) and this variety is sold in Garden Centres nationwide. A number of different Viola species were crossed to breed with the Garden Pansy and Viola cornuta is one of those species. Other species that were used were Viola altaica, V.lutea and V.tricolor.