Journey to Shangri-La

By Susan Littlefield

What is it about the first flowers of spring that make them so delightful? Maybe it the sight of color in the garden after the long month of winter that makes us revel so in the blossoms of cool-season bloomers.

Now you can enjoy a little bit of garden paradise in early spring with the 2011 All-America Selections Cool Season Bedding Plant Award winner, Viola 'Shangri-La Marina'. This prize-winning selection of Viola cornuta displays a vibrant, new color -- light blue petals surrounding a velvety dark blue face bordered with a narrow strip of white -- that remains consistent throughout the bloom season.

Bred by Tokita Seed Company, this viola is an early bloomer, coming into flower only 70 days after sowing seeds. Only 6 inches tall with a mounding habit, 'Shangri-La Marina' is a great choice for containers and hanging baskets and makes a neat edging plant in the flower border. Best in full sun, plant should be spaced 8 inches apart. A frost-tolerant biennal, it can be planted for fall color and will rebound with another show of early spring flowers.

All-America Selections winners are new garden seed varieties that have been judged to have superior garden performance in impartial trials in North America.

For more information on Viola 'Shangri-La Marina', go to : All-America Selections .

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