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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May 31 , 2011

Hello all! I have to finish up my convention talk with another group of people pictures. Maybe you have heard these names before, and now you can put a picture to the name. I think that most people would agree that while the plants are certainly the main attraction, the real joy of convention is seeing old friends and making new ones. Even if I could never grow another plant, I have made some friendships that I treasure, and that will last forever. That's what really brings me back to convention year after year.

May 30 , 2011

Happy Memorial Day! While you are pondering which underwater design won best in its class, I thought I'd show you another feature of the show, and that's the commercial display tables. A commercial display table is a display of plants from a commercial grower, such as Lyndon Lyon Greenhouses, who displays a variety of their plants for the public to oogle. Here are the three display tables from the showroom.

Another fun feature at the convention is the sales room. It is so popular that at the luncheon auction, there is a prize auctioned off to get a one hour early entry pass into the showroom. And, there's a second prize for a one-half hour early entry pass into the showroom. These are usually hot items and the recipients say it was well worth their bids. Here is a picture of the showroom, that only shows a glimpse of the tons and tons of plants and supplies and violet related items that are for sale in the sales room. A trip (or three) through the sales room is worth the price of admission alone.

Finally, if you have gone to convention but never gone to the Awards Banquet, you are really missing out. Not only do you get to see the awards handed out and learn the winners first, there is usually some great entertainment. This year, the Mummers Band entertained the crowd and everybody had a great time. All good reasons to come to the National conventions! Hope to see you there next year.

May 29 , 2011

Hello folks! Now it's time to show you my favorite part of the design division, the underwater designs. (Yes, still blogging about the AVSA 2011 convention, so bear with me). I just love the underwater designs. This is one type of design I have done several times at shows, winning everything from blue ribbons to a Best Design. I think they are really challenging to get a unique design, that also ties into the class/show theme. Plus, the mechanics are often challenging as well.

I took pictures of each entry in this class. The title of the class is "Three Rivers." Can you guess which design won best in class? No fair if you were at convention and saw them in person. I will post the best in class winner in a couple of days, to give you some time to ponder, so don't think I forgot. Until then, happy guessing.

May 28 , 2011

I have been showing you lots of horticulture entries from the AVSA 2011 convention. Now, it's time for some design pictures. With 112 design entries, it was quite a display! I took photos of most of the best in class entries, with a few additional shots of some other designs as well. I am not showing the underwater designs in this post, because I am saving them for a separate post where I can show you more of them. But for now, enjoy these best in classes and other designs.

May 27 , 2011

Hi all. I'm still blogging about the AVSA 2011 convention. I don't grow any of the other gesneriads, except for my failed attempts at a few sinningias, but I sure like looking at them at shows. Here are a few I really liked from the show.

Columnea 'Orange Sherbet'
Columnea 'Orange Sherbet'
 
Chirita 'Cynthia'
Chirita 'Cynthia'
 
Columnea 'Broget Stavanger'
Columnea 'Broget Stavanger'
Kohleria 'HCY's Jardin de Monet'
Kohleria 'HCY's Jardin de Monet'


May 26 , 2011

I've been showing you a lot of pictures of individual plants from the 2011 National convention. I wanted to show you some glimpses of the overall showroom, and how really impressive it was. The room was very large and beautifully decorated. There were several long rows of tables and the tables were absolutely packed from front to back with plants. Here are some pictures of the showroom, and it gives you an idea of how large the show was.

Another thing that I love to see at shows is entries of the same variety plant grown by different growers. It shows how geography and another grower's conditions can affect the end result. Sometimes it's for the better, which is fun because it shows you what the plant is capable of. Sometimes it's for the worse if you've tried and tried and just can't get a certain variety to perform that way for you. Nonetheless, it's interesting. Here is an example of the same plant, 'Optimara My Love,' showing what would be the same description of blossom, but a different appearance in actual bloom.

Do you think I have run out of convention pictures? Fear not, because I have more to go so stay tuned. Next, some other gesneriads and design pictures will be coming. Thanks for visiting!

May 25 , 2011

Hello there. So far from the AVSA convention I have showed you the best in show, best of the different varieties, all the major prize winning collections, a collection of pictures of miniatures and of different standards. Now I have a selection of beautiful trailers from the show to share with you. The trailer section was huge. I got to clerk for the trailer classes. With so many entries that looked like the pictures below, plus the BIS winning plant coming from the trailer section, you can imagine how tough the judges' jobs were.

That said, special congratulations goes out to a friend and fellow violet member of our local Fox Valley African Violet Society group. In addition to being a member of IAVS, AVSA, MAAVS and probably groups I am omitting, Judi Dupont received a special honorable mention for her trailer 'Rob's Humpty Doo.' Great job Judi! Shown below is a picture of Judi's plant, and a few other trailers that caught my fancy. Enjoy!

May 24 , 2011

There were so many outstanding plants at the AVSA convention, it was just not possible to photograph and post every one. The AVSA Library Committee photographs all the major prize winning plants, all the best in classes, and many more plants that they feel are exceptional or unusual. But, you can view many of these here first, on this blog! I don't have all the best in classes, so the AVSA dvd will have a lot more to offer once it's available. TheFranklinhouse AV blog is more like a sneak peek, rather than an organized viewing. :) Bottom line, support AVSA by coming to convention, and/or purchasing their dvd's of past shows. They're great for club programs too. Now, back to AVSA 2011. Here are some standards from the show for you to enjoy.

May 23 , 2011

You saw it first here, folks — the complete show results from the AVSA Convention & Show!

Did you think I was done posting pictures? No way. I have lots more from the convention to show you. Here are a few more of the small ones I found interesting that I forgot to post yesterday. I think I'll post either standards or trailers tomorrow. Or, maybe some people pictures. Or maybe something from design. I can't decide. I guess you'll just have to wait and see. :) 

May 22 , 2011

I just got home! What a trip. I can't believe how fast the time at convention flies by. Now that I'm home, I have more time to post lots of pictures from convention for you. I think I'll start with some of my favorites, the small ones. So, here are a bunch of minis and semiminis that caught my eye for one reason or another. If you don't see a picture of something that you heard about at show, e-mail me or post a comment and I'll see if I have a picture. In the meantime, enjoy some outstanding plants.

May 21 , 2011

Addendum 2: I wanted to post some people pictures. The shows wouldn't happen without the help of a lot of different people. Here are some of the major contributors:

(Click on the thumbnail image to see a larger photo, with a caption indicating the names of the people.)

May 21 , 2011

Addendum: In case you were wondering who is this new person who came in and swept the show awards, bringing home over $1,100.00 in prize money, here she is. Congratulations to Sandy Skalski, BIS winner and too many other awards to list for now. But stay tuned, I'm sure you will be hearing her name a lot more. I thought she deserved her own post. So, here's a picture of Sandy standing next to her BIS plant, 'Cirelda.'

sandy skalski

May 21 , 2011

Okay folks, you wanted more pictures, here they are:

best lyon's collection
Best Lyon's Collection
Won by Marie Burns
 
second best lyon's collection
Second Best Lyon's Collection
Won by Sandy Skalski
 
best russian hybrid collection
Best Russian Hybrid Collection
Won by Marie Burns
 
second best standard avsa collection
Second Best Mini/Semimini AVSA Collection
Won by Beverly Williams
 

May 20 , 2011

Addendum: Well I best get right to it, you've all been waiting patiently for more pictures from the AVSA National convention, so here some are:

best other gesneriad
Best Other Gesneriad
Streptocarpus 'Fire 'n' Ice'
Won by Marie Burns
 
best gesneriad
Best Other Gesneriad (Commercial Division)
Columnea 'Midget'
Won by Paul Sorano
 
best mini collection
Best Mini/Semimini AVSA Collection
Won by Susan Arnao
 
best standard collection
Best Standard AVSA Collection
Won by Sandy Skalski
 
best species collection
Best Species Collection
Won by Barbara Jones
 

May 20 , 2011

Yesterday after judging I worked with the Library committee helping them photograph all the winning plants and the best in classes. That means I got to have a sneak peek into the showroom before it opened, so I knew all the winners beforehand. It was so hard to keep my lips zipped and not blog about it. While I was helping out, I was asked to carry the BIS plant. That probably wouldn't be a big deal, except that the plant was so big and heavy it was challenging to transport. But, I got a picture taken of it with me, and it really is the best way to get an idea of the size of this plant. Just looking at the picture of the plant standing alone, it's difficult to gauge its size. But take a look. It was really an impressive plant.

When I was clerking, I clerked for the trailer classes, and right away when I saw that plant I said to one of the judges, "I wouldn't be surprised if this plant won best in show. I was excited when I saw it won. That means I can recognize a winning plant when I see one. Now, if I could only grow one.

best in show

May 19 , 2011

Addendum: Hello all. I know it's late, and I've had a really long day, but I wanted to post a few of the major winners from the AVSA National Convention. I will post a more complete list tomorrow. But for now, here's the major winners:

BIS, Cirelda, won by Sandy Skalski
2nd best in show and best mini, Petite Blarney, won by Sandy Skalski
Best semimini, Opt. Little Hopi II, won by Marie Burns
Best Standard, Best Variegated, Buckeye Cranberry Sparkler, won by Sandy Skalski

winners

May 19 , 2011

Hello from Cherry Hill. Well, I just finished clerking for the show. I clerked for classes 47 through 51, which was trailers and vintage violets. The classes were huge. There were tons of great trailers. I'm not sure how they are going to narrow it down to a best trailer. Glad that's not my job.

This is a huge show. There are over 900 entries. There were five entries in the Lyon's collection class. I think it's safe to say, with the quality of my plants this time, that I won't be hearing my name at the awards ceremony tonight. :( But, may the best plants win. And, this just motivates me to do better next year.

In the meantime, I got a question on the type of mister I use. I get them at Home Depot. They have a nice fine mist, and they seem to last pretty long. I also use, (because I top water), a little bottle with a super tiny nozzle. It helps get in between the really tight foliage that I often have. I can't remember where I got these, but I will track it down and post it later.

mister

May 18 , 2011

Addendum: Hello again. I know I already posted once today, but with everything going on during convention I may be posting more than once a day, so be sure to check back. I wanted to mention that I wasn't even here 24 hours when someone won the sucker plucker. Congratulations to Julie Jones, who was the first person to come up to me and say, "I read your blog." Here is a picture of Julie and myself, with her new sucker plucker. Enjoy Julie, and I hope you have a great time at the convention! Now, and until Friday night, if anyone comes up to me and says "I read your blog," they will get their choices of a variety of leaves that I brought with me. I have about eight or ten varieties to choose from, and the "winning" person/people may take as many of the different varieties as they want. So, I hope to hear from you. Any left over leaves will be taken as gifts to the Internet Buddies dinner on Friday night, and distributed there.

Tomorrow, I am clerking at the show, so that is always a fun experience. Then, tomorrow night is the awards dinner and the show opens at 9:30 p.m. I'll be posting the major winners and pictures of the head table plants tomorrow night. Good night everyone, have a great day tomorrow!

Julie Jones and Andrea

May 18 , 2011

Hello from Cherry Hill, New Jersey! I know I kept saying the convention was in Philadelphia, but the hotel is actually in Cherry Hill. I have already seen tons of friends, and the plants and people are still pouring in. I entered my plants today. I took fifteen plants. Five took a big blossom dive during the travel. Many more needed so many blossoms plucked off, I'm not sure if I have enough left on to get blues, but we will see soon enough. In the end, I entered ten plants. Wish me luck!

When I arrived, I found out that Hortense Pittman sent me a little care package of violets. How fun is it to get to convention and handed a bag of plants! Here is a picture of the plants I got from Hortense. They are 'Jolly Diamond,' 'Jolly Marvel,' 'Precious Red,' 'Jolly Lilac' and 'Jolly Dolly Dimples.' There is a close up of 'Jolly Marvel' and 'Jolly Dolly Dimples.' 'Jolly Marvel' has the best variegation with a beautiful coral pink flower. 'Jolly Dolly Dimples' is a teeny tiny miniature with adorable bell flowers. And, I am super excited because I have been wanting 'Jolly Lilac' ever since I saw it at Lonestar. I am looking forward to growing these at home, and hopefully someday soon they will be show plants. Thank you Hortense. You are just the best!

Hortense Pittman plants

May 16 , 2011

Hello everybody, it's show time! The next post I share will be from the AVSA national convention. I am leaving tomorrow, and will be in Philly by the evening. I'm so excited to see old friends and new flowers. My plants are all packed up and already on their way thanks to my good friend Judi DuPont, who graciously offered to drive some of my plants for me. My goal now is to enter ten to twelve plants, depending upon how well they travel by plane and by car. African violets are typically pretty sturdy little plants, until you try to get them to a show. I can never really know what I'm entering until I am sitting in my hotel room going over them one last time before entries. Wednesday after I have entered my plants I will post how many I was able to enter. The show opens Thursday night, so by Friday night I should have the major winners posted. (And maybe they'll be posted late Thursday night, so stay tuned.) So wish me luck — it's off to the races I go!

May 14 , 2011

Oh - my - gosh. I can't believe how frustrating a little violet plant can be! You could very well be witnessing the unraveling of a violet grower right before your very eyes. Yes, I am in a violet frenzy. I am going crazy trying to get ready for the AVSA violet convention. And when I say get ready, I am using that term very loosely because right now, there is absolutely nothing I can do but watch, wait and hope. That's what's so frustrating. What I thought was in is out. What I thought was out could be in. At this point, I can't keep track any more. Everything is changing on a daily basis.

We had a heat wave move through our area, and we had record temperatures reaching 90+ degrees. For two days it was about 94 degrees in my plant room. That's a 20 degree difference we hit overnight. My violets baked before I could get the air on, bringing it down to a more accommodating 80-ish. That's what caused what I thought was in to be out. Two of the three plants I was going to use for my AVSA collection lost so many blossoms I had to take off several bloom stalks each of spent blossoms. That left plants with not enough bloom left.

Now, since we did have the heat, some of the plants showing only buds started to open quicker than I thought. That's what is teasing me right now, with not enough blossoms open to enter a into collection. But, maybe enough open to get a blue ribbon if I enter it into a regular class. I have only one more day of bloom time before I have to rip the plants down and get them transplanted for travel and show. Today, the temperature went from 84 degrees this morning to 50 degrees. My violets are wondering what the heck is going on. I'm kicking myself for not disbudding in time, and getting myself into this situation.

Luckily for me, a friend of mine from my violet club, Tonya Hughes, came over and we had a violet crafting night. I showed her how to make beaded violets for one of our Fox Valley AVS club projects. It was fun and a nice distraction for me from staring at my plants like a time lapse camera, hoping to get a glimpse of some movement. I sent Tonya home with some violet leaves right off of my show plants, and some Calico Cupcakes. Hopefully I'll be able to tell her those leaves came from blue ribbon plants!

tonya

May 11 , 2011

It's that time again! I don't mean it's just show time. It's time to give away another sucker-plucker. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is my absolute favorite, essential violet tool. This time, the sucker-plucker will go to someone attending the AVSA National Convention in Philadelphia, PA. Here's how to win. The first person to come up to me in person, and say "I read your blog," will get the sucker-plucker. Saying hello, asking me about my day or my violets, or asking if anyone won the sucker-plucker yet, while nice, will not do. You must actually say the words to me, "I read your blog." That's it. Pretty simple huh? I think so. I'm posting this early in case people are busy getting ready for their trip. Hopefully people attending will have a chance to check the blog before leaving. I hope to give away this sucker-plucker. It's a really great tool.

sucker plucker

May 9 , 2011

It's one week until I leave for the show, and the pressure is on. I have shared my woes about my Lyon's collection. Now I'm afraid I must also forego my planned AVSA collection. I had grown several minis for show. They were growing perfect foliage, but as I previously mentioned, they also got disbudded too late. At one week from show, here are my minis: 'Precious Red,' 'Jolly Ace,' and 'Windsome.' All three are tried and true show performers. All three grow beautiful rosettes and have an abundant bloom. And, unfortunately, all three are out for National. I have other violets growing, but none of them were grown for show, so they all have problems. However, at this point I'm not looking for Best in Show, I just want to have an entry, or a blue ribbon from a National convention. I'm pretty sure I do have three blue ribbon plants, even if they're "light" blues. :) I can't show them to you yet, until after they're entered and judged. But stay tuned to the blog next week especially, because I will be blogging from the convention regularly so you can see what's up there, and the winning show plants. Also sometime this week, for the people that are going to the AVSA convention, I will be posting another chance to win a sucker plucker, the creme de la creme of African violet tools. So keep visiting, and happy growing!

plants

May 5 , 2011

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Alright, in keeping with show talk, which is my current mind set, I promised I'd show you my back-up Lyon's collection plants. Here they are: 'Sierra Sunrise,' 'Lyon's June Bug,' and ' Spring Cardinal.' As you can see, 'Sierra Sunrise' has not even the hint of a bud showing. This plant is grown in my basement, where it is much colder, and as you can see the plant has gone almost all white. I'm sure that this has something to do with why it's not blooming on time. 'Lyon's June Bug' has two major problems. One I can fix, one I can't. The first problem, an obvious culture break, can be fixed by ripping the outside leaves of the plant down to the culture break. Luckily there would still be enough rows of leaves behind to leave a nice, tidy plant. But, the un-fixable problem, lack of blooms, cannot be so easily solved. So, this plant is also out. 'Spring Cardinal,' has enough bloom for the size plant that it is, and there's more buds coming, so that's it's only plus. The foliage, on the other hand, is really wonky. First, there's the obvious gap, a missing leaf which is a huge gap in symmetry. Next, it has a couple of gnarly leaves on the outside, which can't be taken off without leaving more large gaps. So, I'm REALLY hesitant to show it. So, there it is, looks like my back-up plan, my plan B, is also out. Hmmm, on to plan C . . .

plants

May 3 , 2011

Hello there. It's two and a half weeks until show time at National, and as you might have read before, I disbudded way too late, and now the plants I WAS getting ready for show are out. One of my main goals, to enter the Lyon's collection, may also be out. Here are my best Lyon's plants, the ones I was hoping to show, either showing no signs of buds, or not enough to be open in time for show. Here they are again: 'Little Busybody,' 'Spring Cardinal,' and 'Snow Leopard.'

As you can see, 'Snow Leopard' has no buds even showing. 'Spring Cardinal' has stems just starting to poke through the foliage. Even though this plant has a tendency for the blooms to open fast, it's still not far along enough to be blooming in two weeks. 'Little Busybody,' even though it has one flower open, the rest of the bloom stalks are too far behind to be open in time. So there you have it. Three perfect plants foliage wise, if I do say so myself, and no blooms. This is what makes showing African violets, like any competitive hobby, so challenging. Anybody can grow a great violet. But it's getting them to be perfect for that one particular day, that's so blooming (pardon the pun) hard. Kudos to those that can do it successfully year after year.

Next time, I'll show you my back-up Lyon's collection, that may also not be able to go, because of foliage problems and also lack of bloom. I also wanted to enter the Rob's collection. But gee, no blooms there either. I'll show you those before show time too. You can be the judge. Until then, happy growing everyone!

plants

April 25, 2011

Okay, so here we are, three weeks away from the biggest violet show of the year, the AVSA National Convention. I am sure you have heard me talk about this before, but it's close to show time, so that's pretty much all I am thinking about. This year it is being held in Philadelphia, PA, and the dates are May 16, 2011 through May 22, 2011. I hope to see a lot of you there!

Anyhow, I have made a grievous mistake. I did not disbud at the right time. In fact, I disbudded way too close to show time, and now I do not have violets blooming in time. By this time, and I am speaking about semiminiatures here, you should have bloom stalks above the foliage by now. And, depending upon the variety, for example if there are heavy doubles or very ruffled flowers, they should even have some open blooms by now.

My flowers? Well, I have a few that have bloom stalks above the foliage, but they're mostly doubles, so they might not have enough time to "cook." Mostly, I have bloom stalks just beginning to pop up. Too late. Then, there's the ones that are just starting to develop buds. They're out of it for National. (Hopefully they'll be the ones I show for State at the end of June). Finally, there's the ones that show no signs of buds at all. They're my no chancers. I don't know what their problem is. I bloom boosted, and still nothing. I swear they know when it's show time and just say "no, I won't bloom and you can't make me!" And they're right.

So, I'm really disappointed, mostly in myself, because there's nobody to blame but me. I even know where I went wrong. I usually make myself a calendar twelve weeks before show time and make a disbudding schedule. This year I didn't, and here are the results. Not good. One of these times, I'm going to write about the show schedule I make. But until then, here's a couple of my perfect little plants, (foliage wise) just sending up their bloom shoots. You won't see them at the show, so I wanted to show you them now. I hope your show plants are further ahead, and that I see them in a few weeks.

The plants below are Precious Red, Snow Leopard, Jolly Frills and Classic Rock.

disbudded plants

April 15, 2011

Earlier this month I did a little post about misting. I hope you enjoyed it. :) But, on a more serious note, I really do believe in regular misting. I think the plants benefit from it, and I definitely see a difference in the brightness and shine of the foliage. I also think it helps keep the foliage clean.

Before I continue, I should talk about what I refer to as "regular." By that, and for me, that means whenever I can and whenever I remember. I am usually only diligent about misting before show time. Misting helps every little piece of dirt or debris, or in my house, cat hair, show up very clearly. Once misted, it is much easier to identify these things and clean them off.

I mist with clean, conditioned water only. By conditioned, I mean tap water that has been sitting out at least 24 hours. I do not put any fertilizers in my water. (I once misted with fish emulsion in my water, more commonly referred to as foliar feeding, which is another topic altogether. Anyhow, while it greened up the green foliage, it also greened up some of the variegated plants. Not what you are going for during show time.)

I have a bottle that has a very fine mister on it. I mist quite heavily until you can see water covering all the little leaf hairs. I do not mist so heavily that drops are allowed to accumulate and drip off the leaves. That changes to "bathing," and again, is another topic.

I do not think it matters when you mist. Many say that they mist only early in the day. I will mist anytime, as long as I have an hour for the leaves to dry before my lights go off. If it's particularly hot, I try to mist several times a day. I at least try to mist every day during the weeks before show. When I have blooms, I mist even more. I think it helps to keep the blossoms fresh.

A word about cleaning. If the misting bottle gets green, I clean mine out with bleach. I don't like to spray with algae water. But, ALWAYS remember to rinse out your bottle thoroughly, and it is a good idea to have a way to mark your bottle when it is soaking, and then when it is clean. NEVER spray your violets with bleach in the water. :)

Below are pictures of a couple of plants from my shelves after they have been misted, and once they are clean and dry. You can see the "fuzzy foliage," (a little tribute to AMK's violet blog), while it is wet, and how happy it is once they have dried off. (These plants are not groomed for show, so please no judging). :)

FYI, the plants are 'Jolly Frills,' and 'Rob's Bo Peep.'

misted plants

April 10, 2011

I have a dilemma. It's my Optimara dilemma. When I had more plant stands, and I was growing more standards, I enjoyed growing the standard Optimara varieties. They preformed very well for me. Since they are hybridized for primarily natural light growing conditions, I have found that they generally require less light than your average violet. This worked well since I could put them at the ends and corners of my shelves and they did very well, reserving the center areas for the more demanding and light-hungry plants. But, after I pared down to two stands, I had to give up (most of) the standards. So, I started acquiring the minis and semiminis. I have probably had a dozen different varieties. I have probably been able to grow two well. Those are 'Opt. Little Hopi II' and 'Optimara Little Ruby.'

I go to National every year and see these outstanding Optimara collections of minis and semiminis, and they are perfectly grown. I drool, I envy, I wonder, why can't I get my small Optimaras to look like that? My problems are, either the blossom color sports, or they sucker so badly I can't get them to shape up into a nice rosette. Before I know it, I've got a trailer on my hands. I am especially attracted to the Little Jewel series, and being a lover of the whites, and white and blues, I have tried 'Optimara Little Crystal,' 'Optimara Little Moonstone,' and Optimara Little Diamond.' They all turned into trailers on me. Plus, 'Little Moonstone' and 'Little Diamond' both turned almost solid blue. I have one plant left of 'Little Diamond' that is still blooming (fairly) true. That is pictured on the right. Unfortunately, it is in a mass of plants and suckers, so I would have to take a sucker and start over. The picture on the left, is of the blossoms after they have sported, which all the whites seem to do when I try to grow them.

So, here's my big dilemma, do I just scrap the Optimaras, or am I missing some trick to growing them well? I would like to see pictures of your small Optimaras growing well. Is anyone out there growing any? If you are, and they're doing well, I'd love to post your picture on my blog. Or, anyone with the same experience as me? If so, let me know, and you can post a comment, or if you have a longer "experience" email me and I'll post it on the blog (or not, if you want your privacy). I'm really curious to see what the scoop is with these plants. I hope to hear from you.

optimaras

April 5, 2011

Hello there! I hope you all had a good gasp at my little April Fool's joke. If you did, then I get to say, "gotcha!" I know I said I'd talk about misting, but before I do, I just had to share a little mystery/surprise I had, or should I say I am having right now. You see, for years, I had a plant of 'Rob's Scrumptious' that I started from a leaf. I kept seeing the plant over and over again at shows and I just loved the bloom. It has a pink and white thumb print blossom. I love pink and white. It's a little fancier than I normally like, but for some reason it grabs me. So, as I said, I had the plant for years, but it would NEVER bloom. I mean never, I didn't even know if it would bloom true. I tried everything I could think of, different fertilizers, different places on the light stand, different locations. I have a plant stand upstairs that gets really warm during the summertime. Since it is a variegated plant, I thought maybe it was growing too warm, since most variegated plants like a little cooler growing temperatures. So, I moved it to my plant stand in the basement, which tends to get too cold. If anything, I thought it would jump start the plant into blooming. Nothing. So, it became one of the many plants that I seem to have "forgotten" about on my stand. It's there, it gets watered, but it never really gets any attention since it never gets prepped for a show. I've probably had this plant for four years now at least.

Then one day, lo and behold, without my even noticing that it had sent up bloom stalks, a flower opened, and it immediately grabbed my attention. It was blooming! And, it was blooming true. And, there were even more bloom stalks coming! What the heck? That was about a week or so ago. Before I knew it, it was popping open like popcorn. The mystery; what made this plant suddenly bloom? The questions: will it ever bloom again, will I be able to time this plant for a show or will this plant just randomly bloom when it feels like it? I can't give you any answers, since you know as much as me at this point. But, here's a picture of my pretty little plant, blooming at last.

rob's scrumptious

April 1, 2011

Here's a post about WHAT NEVER NEVER NEVER TO DO TO YOUR VIOLETS! I'm sorry I have not posted for so long, but I have been so devastated I could not bring myself to write. Ok, so I have not talked about this before, but I believe misting is really good for your violets. I have a misting bottle that I just use for plain water. Over time, it gets green at the bottom, so I bleach it clean. Can you see where this is going? So, I was leaving my bottle soaking with bleach, a heavy concentrate, and I let it soak overnight. The next day, I just grabbed the bottle, and completely forgot that it was full of bleach. Yes, I did it. I misted everything!!! Heavily. Since my violets are not growing in a place where I regularly see them, I did not even think to look at them until the next time I thought they should be ready for watering. You can imagine my shock when I came up and saw nothing but brown mush all over my shelves! My babies, my plants that I have been nursing, (well, ignoring/nursing) for years, my show plants! I'm out of it for National. I'm out of it for State. I'm thinking of just packing in this hobby altogether! Maybe it's just my devastation talking, or maybe it's just April Fool's Day! Ok, so I had to have a little fun with you. My plants are all fine, (knock on wood). But seriously, make sure you mark your bottles, and I'll talk more about misting later. :)

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Comments to date: 35. Page 4 of 4.

Andrea   from TheFranklinhouse

10:42pm on Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Amy and Kurt, thanks for your input. I think all the successful Optimara growers out there are keeping their secrets to themselves! :)

Kurt   from Miami Beach, FL

6:29am on Thursday, April 14th, 2011

I have almost no experience with Optimaras. I'm sorry I can't help!

Amy   from AR

4:05pm on Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Little Hopi is an infamous sporter. I got one true bloomer out of three, but it bloomed so heavily, the crown puttered out after each cycle. Diamond was a suckering beanstalk, so I no longer grow it. I've had good luck with Little Ruby and at one time, Little Lapis, but that last one also tends to sucker. I'm giving it one more try.

Andrea   from TheFranklinhouse

3:24pm on Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

Ahh Ann-Marie, a woman who appreciates my (warped) sense of humor. But believe me when I say, it's not me you have to worry about at National. I'm still on the heels of the veteran showers, chasing National rosettes!

Ann-Marie   from right here

3:09pm on Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

ANDREA YOU ARE EVIL!! Here all of us were thinking we had a chance at National hahahaha!!


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