African Violet Blog

Welcome to my blog! I plan to blog about all things African violet and related to that end. I hope you will find it interesting, and maybe even learn something new. More importantly, I hope to learn from you, so please feel free to add your comments, critiques, and criticisms at the bottom of the page. Thanks for visiting TheFranklinhouse!

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March 21 , 2011

Well, now I've gone and done it. During my frenzy to get at least SOME plants transplanted in time for National, I was not paying close enough attention to which leaves I wanted to pluck, and which I wanted to leave on, and bam, off with it's head. Or should I say leaf. Of course, not one of the tons of outer leaves that I was going to pull off anyhow, but one of the main leaves that was integral to the plant's symmetry. And, this was a plant that I was hoping to get ready to show. 'Rob's Fuddy Duddy' is a great little plant that I love growing because it has consistently performed well in shows for me. Also, for growing for National, it has dual purpose. Since I fly to the convention, I am limited to the plants that I can get on a carry-on, which is three to four semiminis. That means that, since I like to enter a collection, I can only enter one in the regular classes, since you need three plants for a collection.

So, as I mentioned in my earlier post, it looks like I am out of it for the Lyon's collection, but there are two more collections that I would like to consider. The AVSA collection of course, and the Rob's collection. 'Rob's Fuddy Duddy' fits the bill for two collections, thus it's a good one for me to grow. But, it's probably now out of the running, as you will see below. The first two pictures are before ripping down for transplanting. The next picture, shows what the plant SHOULD look like when I'm done. The last picture, shows my mishap. It's two months before show, and my choices are narrowing. What do you think folks, should I rip off the whole entire row, and hope the plant grows out enough? Or, do I leave it and hope that it fills in the gap? Any advice is appreciated.

Rob's Fuddy DuddyRob's Fuddy Duddy

Rob's Fuddy DuddyRob's Fuddy Duddy

March 17 , 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day everybody! I thought I would celebrate the holiday by showing you the winning designs from the Dallas, Texas show this past weekend. As I mentioned in my previous blog, three clubs got together and had the Dallas Tri-Club Show and Sale, and I am lucky enough to have some pictures of that event that I can share with you. Thank you to Beverly Powers, of the First AVS of Dallas, for providing the photographs. And, congratulations Beverly, for your outstanding wins in the design categories!

Best Design

Best Design, "Ace Hardware," Best Plant Design,
Beverly Powers, First AVS of Dallas

Best Dish Garden

Best Dish Garden, Best Container Garden,
Beverly Powers, First AVS of Dallas

Best Natural Garden

Best Natural Garden, "Keebler Elves,"
Beverly Powers, First AVS of Dallas

Best Flower Arrangement

Best Flower Arrangement and Best Mobile,
Ron Davidson


Best Mirror Image,
Suzanne Zacharias


BIC, "Meow Mix,"
Beverly Powers, First AVS of Dallas


BIC, "Slinky," Nadine Tichie

Award of Merit

Award of Merit, "Slinky," Beverly Powers

March 15 , 2011

If you follow TheFranklinhouse on Facebook, you know that I recently told you that there was a violet show in Texas this weekend, and I would post show results. Well, here they are. Three clubs, First African Violet Society of Dallas, Alpha African Violet Society, and First Nighter's African Violet Society all had a combined show. They call it their Dallas Tri-Club Show and Sale. It was in Dallas, TX, and the show theme was "Violets Sing T.V. Jingles." Congratulations to all the winners in Dallas. It looks like it was a beautiful show. Here are some pictures of the major winners. A special thank you Beverly Powers, for providing photographs of the show. I will show you some designs next time.

Click on a thumbnail image below to see a larger photo.

head table

The head table

best in show

Best in Show, Best Semiminiature
'Rob's Mad Cat' won by
Ben Haning of First Nighter's AVS

best mini

Best Miniature
'Honey Blue Ace' won by
Ben Haning of First Nighter's AVS

best trailer

Best Trailer
'Rob's Galion' won by
Ben Haning of First Nighter's AVS

best standard

Best Standard
'Opera's II Straniero' won by
Ben Haning of First Nighter's AVS

best species

Best Species
S. ionantha subsp. velutina won by
Meredith Hall of First Nighter's AVS

best gesneriad

Best Gesneriad
Aeschynanthus ? won by

March 13 , 2011

Hello there. I am still bemoaning the fact that I didn't transplant my plants on time for the National AVSA Convention this year. As I mentioned before, there is a Lyon's collection that I really wanted to enter. For those that have never been to an AVSA show before, a "collection," is when an entry requires three plants for that category, usually all registered plants, meaning that they have to have an AVSA registration number. The theory being, it is much harder to get three blue ribbon plants to enter into a collection than it is to enter a single good plant in a category. So, when I say I want to enter a Lyon's collection, I am referring to the Lyndon Lyon collection class at the National AVSA Convention. You need three plants, all Lyndon Lyon hybrids, to enter that class.

So, I have nine Lyon's plants in my collection. Three of those are babies, so they're out. One is immature, a youngin', so it's out. Two I had to decapitate because I let their necks get too long to even transplant. That leaves three plants. My chances of having those three bloom perfectly at the same time are, well, slim to say the least. So, lesson learned.

One of the plants I decapitated is blooming in the water. I think that's so cool when that happens. 'Cupid's Jewel' is re-rooting in water right now. I won't be able to grow it in enough to show it at National, but it may be ready by summer for the Illinois state show. For more information on rooting your plants in water, see my previous posts.


March 10 , 2011

When I said I completely ignored and neglected my plants, I wasn't kidding. When I said that they were chock full of extra rows of leaves and several dead bloom cycles, I wasn't exaggerating. You may wonder how someone who top waters can possibly let the plants go so long, since you have to handle them regularly. Well, my secret is about to come out. Here it is, I bet I bottom water about half the time. What happens is, by the time I get around to watering, they are limp and dry. If you tried to top water when they are that dry, the water just runs right through and the plant barely gets wet. So, I pour a little water in the bottom, regular water without fertilizer, and let it soak up that for a day or so. I think I have spoken of that method before, but I don't think I ever fessed up as to how often I have to resort to that method. I never recommend this way of watering because it is just too easy to over water. But, I just give them enough to re-moisten them, and it seems to be fine. Below is 'Jolly Blue Clouds.' You can see how overgrown it had become, and how many spent blossom stalks were left on. Then you can see how much better it looked after it was severely stripped down. Check out the bounty of leaves removed.

stripping plantstripping plant
stripping plantstripping plant

March 7 , 2011

Now that spring is just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about shows. For me, that means the National AV Convention, and the Illinois State show. The first show is National. This year it is in New Jersey, or Philadelphia, depending upon who you ask. When I prepare for a spring show, I have to start prepping my plants in December of the previous year. That means, this past December, I should have had everything I hope to have be a show possibility, transplanted. Well, this time December came, and then January, and then February, and I still hadn't worked on my plants. This may prove to have been my fatal flaw. Finally, at the end of February, I took to the plants. What I found was not pretty. Months and months of neglect left me with plants with rows and rows of leaves and spent blossoms that would have to be removed. See, in addition to my overall neglect, I failed to keep my plants disbudded. Fatal mistake number two when you are growing for show. Check out 'Red Tiger,' which I had hoped to show, and is now out of it. That takes one plant away from my potential Lyons collection, which is, or should I say was, my main show goal this year. Not only did I have to take away boatloads of leaves and dried blooms, once I cleared away all the debris, I found out I had not one, but two twin leaves that I had to leave on. Some may remember when I very first started this blog, I talked about violet oddities, one being twin leaves. For some reason I seem to get them all the time. I don't think they'll be grown out by show time, nor do I think the inner foliage will have grown in enough. I wish some judges out there would comment on the twin leaves. Will they be points off for culture?

twin leavestwin leaves

twin leavestwin leaves

March 3 , 2011

Well I have some good news and some bad news. The good news, you will find out the blossoms in the Valentine's Day challenge today. The bad news, nobody won. :( Here's the really weird thing I can't figure out. When the game was hard, people played. When the game was a give-away, and someone could have had the greatest violet tool known to man, nuttin', go figure. I guess violet people love a challenge. Well my sucker plucker will stay safely stashed away for the next program or presentation, and will eventually go to a good violet home where it will fulfill its destiny, to groom beautiful show plants. So, thank you very much to the people who did play. Here's the list of blossoms:

1. Windsome
2. Rob's Zoot Suit
3. Rob's Inner Orbit
4. Rob's Bo Peep
5. Lyon's June Bug
6. Opt. Little Hopi II
7. Cupid's Jewel
8. Dean's Bunny Blue
9. Jolly Ace

P.S. I forgot to mention, all of the blossoms except one from the list, are pictured on my list of African violets for sale on my AV page. Optimara Litle Hopi II, the only one not pictured, I thought was going to be the hard one. But Kurt from Philly got it right away on one of his guesses, and then I knew that there were some violet people out there who REALLY knew their violets. Kudos to you Kurt for getting the hardest one. Especially since there was only one of those pictured, and you could only see it in one picture. Good eye Kurt!

March 1 , 2011

Happy March everyone! I want to thank everyone who participated in my Valentine's Day challenge. I hope you had fun. I know I had a lot of fun, especially when a few people got really close. As you probably know, no one was able to guess all nine varieties correctly. But, as I said, a few people got really close. So, I'm here to reveal that there will be a winner! (Hopefully, anyhow). Here's the way the Second Chance at the Valentine's Day challenge works. Anyone who wants to play can play, it doesn't matter if you tried the first time around or not. You have just one guess. Your guess must include nine varieties, and only nine. You must submit your guess by midnight, March 2, 2011. Whoever gets the most varieties right out of the nine, wins. If there is a tie, I will have a tie-breaker among only the people who tied. I will announce the rules of the tie-breaker if necessary on March 3, 2011. Hopefully, on the 3rd I will be announcing the winner. Oh, I will not be responding to how many are right after each person guesses during this Second Chance, so it doesn't matter when you put your guesses in. Good luck!


Below are comments from our visitors. Scroll to the bottom to add your comments.

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Comments to date: 16. Page 1 of 2.

kurt   from philly

9:52pm on Thursday, March 31st, 2011

we need an update. I am dying here

Andrea   from TheFranklinhouse

4:39pm on Thursday, March 24th, 2011

@ Julie, lol you're right, you certainly can't go incognito at the airport when you're carrying violets. EVERYONE looks at the bin to see what's in it and asks, "what are those," and then I go into my violet pitch. Looking forward to seeing you there. Good luck. P.S. Are you entering a Lyon's collection? :)

Amy   from AR

4:18pm on Thursday, March 24th, 2011

By looking at the pic, I don't really see any other leaves you can move without giving you a different gap. I say take off another row and hope for the best.

Julie   from Columbus, Ohio

3:16pm on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Andrea- Yes, I will be flying to Philly, and will try to bring 3 violets with me to show. I was able to do that last year, and enjoyed the response when going through airport security more than anything else. The TSA employees stopped what they were doing...and came over to see my violets. The lines came to a standstill while they admired them. I felt as if I had won a major award even before... read more »

Andrea   from TheFranklinhouse

7:17am on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

@Julie, You're right, most growers show their plants with much fewer leaves, and they still get big awards. I just really like the look of a beefy, mature plant. But, if push comes to shove, and that gap doesn't fill in, I'm going to have to strip another row off and do another transplanting to get the neck back down. Hopefully it will make it to Natl. Thanks so much for your feedback. Will yo... read more »

Julie   from Columbus, Ohio

4:19am on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

I can't say I've had luck with the 'fill in' method, so my vote is removing the corresponding lower row of leaves. Rob shows his plants in similar fashion...few rows of leaves, and lots of blooms. I will look for your 'Rob's Fuddy Duddy' at National and see what you decided to do.

Andrea   from TheFranklinhouse

4:25pm on Monday, March 21st, 2011

Thanks for the great advice Kurt, I really appreciate that. Now I REALLY hope I have a Lyon's or Rob's collection because I've seen your plants and they will be hard to beat. Make it to Natl., you need to put in that AVSA collection!

Kurt   from Philly

4:15pm on Monday, March 21st, 2011


I would leave the leaves on and let it grow out. You might even let the plant dry out a little and gradually move the leaf over a bit. I think it will work. Get double sided tape and take a piece and put it under the leaf you want to move and then stick it to the leaf ring in the place you want the leaf. It will stick to the ring and eventually the leaf will grow out where you want it t... read more »

Andrea   from TheFranklinhouse

8:09pm on Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Thanks Joe, that is good news because I do have 'Blueberry Sprite.' Guess I better go see how it's doing.

Joe   from Illinois

8:02pm on Sunday, March 13th, 2011

FYI, I just got 21 registration applications from Paul Sorano, and they will be official before the convention. Included are old ones — 'Blueberry Sprite', 'Little Blue Bandit', and 'Lyon's Black Magic'. If you have them, they might be contenders.

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