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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Garden Fairies Guest Post: African Violets

Hi! It’s us garden fairies again. Carol isn’t too happy about the snow and she has started working on her taxes, so we thought this might be a good time for us to do a guest post.

Hopefully she’ll appreciate our thoughtfulness and not be upset that once again we’ve taken over her blog.

Remember how she said that African violet’s were your grandmother’s houseplants and she made up that rule that no one should have more than one African Violet for every ten years of their age? And she was all smug because she had only three African violets, making her only 30 African violet years old?

Well, it's time for us garden fairies to tell you the truth about Carol and her African violets.

The truth is, after today, she now has 12 African violets, which if you multiply that by ten, would make her 120 African violet years old, which is darn near as old as some of us younger garden fairies.

Want to know how that happened in just a few months' time?

First of all, awhile back, she divided up two of her African violets into six plants and they all seem to be surviving and growing just fine.

Then today she went to an African violet show, allegedly just to see what African violet growers were like.

But can she be trusted to go to something like that and not buy a plant or two or six? No, apparently not.

Here’s what she bought.

‘Boolaroo', a trailing type African Violet
Carol likes those mottled flowers and the trailing, spreading habit of this one.

And these four African Violets.

From the top, clockwise:

‘Midnight Waltz’. We think she liked that flowers on that one.

‘Merlot’. It has wasp—type blooms and bustled, variegated foliage. The grower also gave her a leaf of one to root.

‘Tiny Wood Trail’. We garden fairies really like this one because it is a little micro-mini. Look at those cute little leaves. It should have dark purple flowers

‘Alchemy Bells’. Look at those little flowers. We garden fairies are eyeing those for new hats.

And if that wasn’t enough, Carol also got herself a Streptocarpus cyandrus.

It’s a species Streptocarpus, a close relative of the African violet, Saintpaulia. It self-pollinates and is supposed to produce a lot of seeds. Carol is looking forward to that because she loves to grow plants from seeds.

So that’s how Carol ended up with 12 African Violets and a Streptocarpus. Plus, get this. She has another 14 African violet leaves rooting right now. If all those survive, she'll be pushing two dozen African violets, which is 240 African violet years. Even we garden fairies aren't quite that old.

Well, we better get going before Carol comes back in the room. But before we go, we'll offer that if you want to know more about her, just leave us garden fairies a comment, and we’ll try to sneak in a guest post now and then with the real truth.

That is, we'll post if we are still here. We aren’t that happy with this snow in March, either, and we saw that Annie in Austin had a garden fairy consultant come and visit her garden. Now it looks like THE place to be! We are thinking about packing our bags, stowing away in Carol’s luggage, and riding along when she goes to Austin for the Garden Bloggers Spring Fling. And if we like it there, we might not come back!


Rachel said...

African violets are my grandmother's house plants, but I get kind of nostalgic for them because of that. I don't own any of my own, but I wouldn't mind owning a few. I can justify three, by the one-per-decade rule. I never see them around - I should start looking harder!

Rachel @ in bloom

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I LOVE it when you spill Carol's secrets, dear garden fairies! (And don't worry, we're not at all shocked...they just confirm our suspicions! *wink*)

Leslie said...

Those are really beautiful plants. No wonder Carol couldn't resist. You can go visit Annie but you need to go home with Carol...otherwise who would fill us in when she's busy?

Kathryn, said...

What a charming creative post! In keeping with your perceptions--an older relative gave me one of those florist potted plant arrangements and oddly there is an African violet in that grouping who is doing very well in spite of the various needs among those plants. Just the right amount of light filtering in. Aren't they on the forest floors in Africa? You fairies would know, most likely. ;)

Mary said...

Oh, Carol. My Mom had dozens and dozens of African violets over the years and even had one blooming in her living room on the day she died. My brother took one of her best to the hospital and the kind nurses tended to it for her.

Sorry...but thanks for the sweet memory. I can't grow Poinsettias but I can keep an African Violet alive!

Now - back to your taxes...and be careful out there.


Robin's Nesting Place said...

Today is tax day at our house too. Hubby has been busy all day on it. Not fun!

Carol, I hope the snow leaves soon so your fairies won't desert your garden.

I like the new African violets, especially the micro-mini.

Annie in Austin said...

It will be a pleasure to have you visit, May-Fairies! Would you rather have traditional mead or local tequila in the little acorn cups?

According to your rules I'm now allowed 6 African violets but have none - alas, none of my windows are suitable for them. Please feel free to let Carol have my quota~

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Frances, said...

HA, your fairies are such good writers! And they seem pretty good with the math too. You can have my quota, like Annie, that should be about ten more for you. No room in the greenhouse/sunroom with all the orchids, too humid as well. BUT if some of your fairies sneak into your bags to go to Austin, I will try and entice them to come back with me to TN, I think we are staying in the same hotel! Come home with me, garden fairies, we will bow to your every whim!

Frances at Faire Garden

Sherry at the Zoo said...

Maybe Carol needs to put African Violets in her nephews and nieces Easter baskets? But no fairies please, we have enough critters here. Maybe we should put critters in everyone's Easter baskets?? LOL!

Carol said...

Those garden fairies! Of course, they are no where to be found this morning, so I'll respond to the comments...

Rachel, Around here, you can generally buy African violets anyplace where houseplants are sold.

Blackswamp_Girl, And just what suspicions do you have?

Leslie, I sometimes think there are enough garden fairies around here that if a few fled to Texas, I'd still have plenty left.

Kathryn, I don't know too much about the native habitat of the African violets, but now that I have so many, I should look that up.

Mary, I think African violets bring back fond memories for many people. I'm glad you can grow them, and I hope you have a few in your home now.

Robin's Nesting Place, Yes, for once I think we got more snow down here than you did up there. I think it will melt before the fairies get too fed up with it.

Annie in Austin, Now that those garden fairies know there are two kinds of drink available in your garden, I suspect they'll expect you to have both for them. And thank you for "giving" me your age allotment of African violets. I'm feeling younger already.

Frances, Are you trying to steal my garden fairies? I'll have to be watchful in Austin, for sure. Thanks for the kind words about the garden fairies' writing and math skills. They appreciate that.

Sherry at the Zoo, Now that Annie in Austin and Frances have kindly given me permission to grow "their" age equivalent of African violets, since they don't have any, I should be fine to keep what I have.

Thanks all for the comments. Me and the garden fairies appreciate them.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Kathy said...

I went to the show too, but I only bought four, so my allotment, with the one I already had, is exactly right. I will take a picture and send to you. I got a pretty varigated one ( got there just after 10:00, so I had the prime pick.)
Kathy, the older sister

lintys said...

Carol, your post is nostalgic for me. African violets were my first houseplants, and my first experiences with propagation when I was a kid. I haven't had one in years, but now you've got me thinking about getting a few!

Zoe said...

Linty, They were my first house plants too...I didn't have much luck with them as I recall. Maybe I need to try again, as my priorities are so different now.

Beautiful Carol!

Kathy said...

There is an article in the December 1990 issue of Horticulture on streptocarpus. I bought a bunch of them from White Flower Farm one year and kept them going for several years. They are very pretty in their own right, and I believe no less than Tasha Tudor planted them in her garden beds for the summer.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Don't you worry about my other suspicions, Carol. Your fairies have whispered a few more confirmations to me... but I'll let them spill your secrets later. ;)

verobirdie said...

Thank you little garden fairies for this post. I've learnt that there are several type of African violets. I did not know that.