Gotta Garden

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

African Violets...cont..

Recently, October 4th to be exact, I put up pictures of some of the African Violets I have…those that were currently in bloom. I like African Violets, especially the newer ones with fancy leaves and fancier blooms. As I mentioned in that post, I think I stumbled on the secret with them…less is more. I just leave them alone until I happen to notice they are bone dry, then I add water (from the bottom, usually). Most, not all, respond to this pretty well. They’re keepers, as far as I’m concerned. Those and the orchids which, so far, seem to make it with my neglect, are my idea of houseplants. I just can’t seem to keep up with them like I should (or as most require). Okay, I have a spider plant that seems to hang around (my air cleaner), a Christmas cactus (a Thanksgiving one, I think, really) and a hoya….There are a few others, but they are probably on their way out as I acknowledge (to the world) that I am a neglectful, neglectful houseplant person…

Anyway, those African Violets really brighten my day. Such a small thing, but I find them charming. If you haven’t checked out some of the newer ones, you’ll be amazed at how big the blooms are getting. If I’m at a show, I try to hop over to the African Violet vendors to see what they have. They’re very hard to resist! Plus, they’re usually not expensive (always good). I’m constrained by space (they sit on a table with some of the orchids and other plants), but when has that ever stopped me.

So, on one of my, of late, infrequent jaunts about the gardening blog world, I happened upon Carol of May Dreams Gardens’ post about African Violets. Reading along, and giving Carol the benefit of the doubt that she means it humorously, I was still rather taken aback at her characterization of African Violets as “your grandmother’s plants” and how you should only have one per decade of age lest you be thought of as old. My first intention was to leave a comment, but I realized I had quite a bit to say and thought it would be better addressed here. By the way, I attempted to copy the section I mentioned to quote it exactly here, but was unable to. I saw at the bottom that Carol does allow 100 words with credit, which, of course, I would do, but I’m ignorant of how to actually copy it. (Appreciate the heads up though to the right click folks. Think I’m might try that, too.)

Anyhow…although I am coming upon a big birthday, I still don’t think of myself as old…unless I am joking with someone or wanting to claim some benefit of age! I didn’t know either of my grandmothers very well, so I don’t really know if they had any African Violets. I do know my dad pretty well, however, and he once propagated and grew numerous African Violets (he’s never been a grandmother or an old woman…). I think he was fascinated with the process and the reward they gave, something I can identify with (Thanks, Dad!). Usually, the vendors at the shows I’ve been to are men as well, sometimes women, but I haven’t yet met one who was elderly.

Now, there are African Violet clubs and societies just as there are for other plants people like to collect such as daylilies, orchids, daffodils and others you could probably name. There are…ahem…some older folks in these groups. I think that is probably because they have the time…finally…in their lives to be active participants. My experience has been that some of these folks are hard to keep up with!

I don’t know this, but I’m just putting a guess out there that maybe this thought (one I’ve never had) about them being grandmother plants might have come about because 1) they are inexpensive and 2) they make great plants to take to someone who is ill and/or in the hospital (small, blooming, and, again, not costly)….

Since it’s a big blog world out there, I’m putting forth that you can have as many as you like…no rules…have fun with them! Shouldn’t gardening, whether indoor or not, be fun? Like what you like, collect whatever moves you, and certainly grow whatever brings you pleasure.

6 comments:

Angela (Cottage Magpie) said...

Grow what you love--that's the bottom line, right? And some of those "old-fashioned" flowers like violets, glads, marigolds and such are coming into vogue again, I think. Let's face it, gardening in general has been a hobby of the older demographic, but it doesn't have to stay that way! ~A :-)

Carol said...

Gotta Garden... My grandmother DID grow African Violets, and was about the only person I knew who did, so whenever I see them now, I think of her.

The rule about how many you should have based on your age? I made that up, and it was indeed an attempt at humor. I have, for the record, three african violets. But I am about your age, I think, so I could have at least one more and soon two more, if I follow that rule.

On the right click protection, that is supposed to give people pause to think before they copy something off my blog. But you can still copy sections of my blog by selecting what you want to copy and then hitting ctrl C.

Happy to see you online again, I always enjoy your blog.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

lisa said...

I agree, grow what you like! My mom and grandmother have always grown african violets, and my appreciation for them may have come from "old ladies", but it's not the only reason. I like any plant that challenges me to change my habits-violets need to dry out, and I am a serial over-waterer. My violets are breaking me of this bad habit (well, the survivors are, anyway! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I just found this blog and am pleased to have done so. One of my favorite plants is the African violet but I had a dreadful time repotting them and right now I seem to be going through a phase of killing my plants even though I don't over water, feed with plant food periodically and otherwise use all the techniques I have used previously. I'll be checking this blog periodically.

Thanks.

Opal said...

I need to call on the wisdom and experience of other violet fans. It's time to repot some of my violets . I've not had much success repotting, Usually I remove from the pot, pinch off some leaves (with the hope of starting the leaves) and repot the stem and core of the plant in dirt or potting soil, only to find the parent plant DIE and the leaves I hoped to start also dying. Help!

Anonymous said...

My direct supervisor grows beautiful African violets. Last Friday (4 days ago) she changed the water in the pot. On Monday, she noticed the leaves were limp on the plant. She checked the water and it was a brownish color. The water also smelled horrible (honestly, I don't want to begin to describe how awful the smell was, so you get the picture). She washed the roots, then left the plants out overnight to dry. Today the smell was back and permeating everything in the office. Some of us were even gagging. She placed the violets on a balcony and they are drying again.

QUESTION: Has anyone ever heard of such a thing happening naturally? I read today that African violets can put off a smell of ammonia, but this smell is much worse than any ammonia I have ever smelled.

We think someone may have put something in the water or poured something on the plant, but don't know what could cause such an awful stink??

Anyhow, if you know, please post. We are sincerely attempting to figure out this mystery.

Thank you.

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