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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

African Violet Questions Answered

Welcome to May Dreams Gardens this evening.

Finally, the weather has changed and instead of record high temperatures, including a brand new record of two back-to-back 90 plus degree days in October, we have a seasonably warm evening with a decidedly cool breeze.

The weatherman has promised that every day for the rest of the week, it is going to get a little cooler.

I promise that I won't complain about the cooler weather. I'm ready for it. When it was near 90 degrees on Saturday, I went out and bought a new winter coat. Does that make me a realist or an optimist?

While you think about that, come virtually sit on the front porch bench and we'll talk about African Violets some more.

Yesterday, I posted about my African Violet rescue mission and offered to look up answers to any questions about African Violets in my book, 1,001 African Violet Questions Answered by Twelve Experts and see if we could stump the experts.

Lost-Roses asked "How can they afford to sell such a fussy plant at 4 for $5.00 at the grocery store?"

Too easy for our experts!

"Question 1: Why do you think African Violets are so popular? "..The nominal cost of plants is within everyone's means; for this reason, people have the opportunity of trying out a lot of them..." (Like four at a time!) By the way, Lost-Roses, according to the experts who answered these questions, "The African Violet is a friendly plant." They don't think they are fussy at all!

Kris at Blithewold asked, "I have an African violet that is supposed to have a white bloom with a dark watercolor wash of purple-blue. When it was new its blooms were reliably true to form. Now (years later and a baby from cutting does the same thing) it begins its bloom cycle blooming clear white and towards the end, the last few buds open with the purpley wash. I don't really mind although I think they're prettier with more color and just have been wondering - why?!"

Is this the answer?

"Question 885. Why do blossoms and foliage look so pale and faded? Probably this is an indication of lack of plant food or too little light."

While I was looking up the answers to these questions, I ran across this question and answer which might be on your mind, but you were afraid to ask.

"Question 751. As a new grower of African Violets I am scared to death. Must I expect to contend with the great list of pests and diseases I hear about? Goodness no, not if you use care and precaution. Get in the habit of spraying regularly and act quickly once you do see evidence of trouble. Knowing what the symptoms indicate helps a lot."

For pete's sake, I am not going to spray my African Violets or be afraid of them!

And one final question to sum up the African Violet experience, at least the experience in 1958 when this book was published. To put it in context, it is the last question in the book, and comes after 250 questions about the possible pests and diseases that can attack African Violets.

"Question 1,001. In spite of all of this, don't you think African Violets offer more pleasure than any other houseplant? Indeed I do. The African Violet offers so many possibilities. It satisfies the desire to possess, to dominate, and express maternal feelings to the fullest. It offers freedom of choice, a private little world of creation, opportunity to experiment, to prove theories, to study evolution, to meet people, to join clubs, win prizes in shows, learn parliamentary law, hold office, and start a business, large or small. It always offers something to talk about. In fact, the African Violet has something for everybody!"

Wow, that's a lot to expect from one plant! Or are they describing gardening in general?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Carol, Carol, Carol,

African Violet ideed. It sounds like a topic for winter muses however anything you write is amusing. I enjoy all your muses.

My MIL grew and sold them years ago. I hear her stories of plants and people who bought them. All entertaining.

Lisa at Greenbow

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

" to possess, to dominate, and express maternal feelings"

Hmmm. We're they talking about stereotypical Jewish mothers here or did they just have a bad experience with their own overbearing Moms?

My own son might agree that there's not much difference in my expressing maternal feelings and my own desire to possess and dominate.

Kris at Blithewold said...

Just like when the car purrs like a kitten as soon as it's at the shop, I just checked my African vi in bud and wouldn't you know those little guys are painted purple. I think fertilizer was definitely the issue - I finally gave it some recently! Must be my maternal feelings kicking in... Thanks for the research!

eleanor said...

How is your new african violet doing now that it's in a quieter environment at your home? Has it recovered from the noise & cat nibbles?

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Carol, I just rescued an African Violet that was on clearance Saturday for only $1.23.

I used to have them in Alabama, in fact I grew them from seed, (which took nearly forever). So I had way more than was allotted for my age. Sorry about that, I didn't know the rule.

Thanks for all the information on African violets, the timing was perfect for me.

bill said...

When I lived in the cubical world someone gave me an african violet. It was the easiest plant to take care of that I ever had and it seemed to thrive under the fluorescent lights. It was like it was just made for that environment.

At home though I can't keep any houseplants alive. Maybe my space here is too big. I forget about them and they just dry up.

Muum said...

I used to kill them (when I had them) consistently, then a friend 'rescued' mine, promising to doctor it back to life, and I saw hers , which were gorgeous with large blossoms (according to her, as they get older, the blooms get bigger!) She watered every ten days (in OHio) and gave them a good liquid fertilizer every time. And they always seem to need more light than you'd think. I love 'em. Just counted, and I have one over my 'quota' for my age.. oh well.

Layanee said...

I love your garden bench and enjoyed the chat on AV. Don't have any now but maybe some time. They are cheery!

Mary said...

Carol,

WE HAVE THE SAME WEATHER PATTERN! Congratulations. I dare say I feel a bit "chilly" tonight - after 93 yesterday. Enjoy!

Odd thing to note: Houseplants, for the most part, kick the bucket around here. Give me an African Violet and it thrives and smiles every day for years.

When I moved from DE two years ago, I gave mine away to friends. Your post reminds me to purchase a few more.

Carol said...

Lisa at Greenbow... I know, African violets is kind of a winter post subject, but you know, I'm trying to keep it real here at MDG and posting about what happens each day and AV happened the other day.

MSS @ Zanthan Gardens... I don't know what they were talking about, but that's a lot of responsibility for one kind of plant.

Kris at Blithewold... That answer book never fails us! Good to hear you are getting better color on your AV blooms.

Eleanor... my new AV is doing quite well. It hasn't fully recovered, but it is definitely improving.

Robin's Nesting Place... Well, I just kinda of made up that AV rule about how many you can have. How can we control ourselves around clearance plants?

Bill... Well, houseplants do need water at some point. As for AV's under fluorescent lights, I guess there are some growers who grow all their AV's under lights and they never get natural sunlight. Is that like when they cage up chickens for their whole lives?

Muum... maybe you should give your friend the extra one as a 'thank you' and explain the "one per decade of life" rule to her?

Layanee... Thanks for stopping buy and if you were here, I'd send you off with a few AV leaves to root.

Mary... Yes, if you have success with AV's, you should definitely buy some more, and isn't this cool weather wonderful?!

Thanks all for the comments!
Carol at May Dreams Gardens