Happy Harold vs Happy Herold

birdsnbloomsMay 18, 2011

Howdy. I found the most beautiful, Standard, African Violet on Violet Barn...'Happy Herold.'

It's out of stock.

Today I checked Violet Gallery, and found 'Happy Herold.'

The problem is the picture posted on Violet Gallery displays the flower and a little of the foliage which looks nothing like 'Happy Harold' on Violet Barn.

Could these two 'Happy Harolds' be different species or is one photo lighted or painted to look more variegated?

Thanks, Toni

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I checked First class (african violet database)for the description of Happy Harold-Single Red-Wine. Variegated, plain. Standard. Could be the lighting, or maybe the plant was mislabled.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 8:51PM
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I Googled Happy Harold, but couldn't find a picture to compare. It's strange since this Saintpaulia is sold on both Violet Barn and Violet Gallery.

In the VB picture, there's more white than green. It's absolutely gorgeous. Of what little can be seen, it doesn't look .25 as white.

I planned on ordering Happy Harold if its foliage was as variegated as the picture on Violet Barn. Now I don't know what to do. sigh...Toni

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 11:55PM
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Here's a link to a picture of Happy Harold
Happy Harold (2169) 02/01/1971 (Rienhardt) Single red-wine. Variegated, plain. Standard

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 10:50AM
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Happy Harold is one of the classic vintage violets. It is a "dropper" and the variegation could vary a good bit. Here is an excellent photo of it.


I've never heard of "Happy Herold" and suspect it's a typo.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 10:54AM
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I checked the Violet Gallery catalog and it is spelled "Happy Harold" there. Are we looking at two different places?

The photo isn't great though. The "wine" color is off.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 11:23AM
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Thanks everyone.

Hope the site opens...here's a picture on Rob's that swept me off my feet. lol


Hope it opens.. If not, it's under Stanard Violets/Other Hybrids.

Diana, you're right..the correct spelling is Happy Harold.
The reason I wrote both...while searching for a second picture to see if they matched, variegation as vivid as the picture Violet Barn posted, I came across a site where people were discussing HH. It was spelled, Happy Herold. Violet Barn spells it Happy Harold.

Deb, I'll try opening the link you posted..'computer problems,' after I submit this post. Thanks. Toni

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 3:37PM
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Deb...I was able to open the link you posted..although Happy Harold is variegated, the picture on Violet Barn has three times more variegation..lol..Guess it's light, etc.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 3:40PM
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Hi Tony,

I bought Happy Harold not knowing if it would look like the AVSA photo or the one on Violet Barn. Mine looks just like the one at Violet Barn right now although the variegation does vary throughout the year. Sometimes the leaves are quite a bit greener and sometimes the leaves are almost entirely white - it seems to be a seasonal thing for me. As Diana said, it is a dropper, but it isn't one that drops really fast. You get to enjoy the blooms for awhile before they fall off.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 6:33PM
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Donna, I was wondering what dropper meant..lol..Thanks.

Mind telling me where you bought your AA? Was it Violet Barn, Violet Gallery, or elsewhere?

Why would he AVSA picture differ from Violet Barn? Or is it like you suggested..could be a seasonal thing? Thanks, Toni

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 8:21PM
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Hi Toni,

Part of the difference I think has to do with how cameras handle the purple/blue/wine colors. They seem to be hard colors for some digital cameras to capture accurately.

I bought two Happy Harolds from different sources. I originally wanted one for a housewarming gift for my mother-in-law: I was giving her violets with names of her family members (of course, I took leaves from her plants for myself!). I left town for awhile and had a neighbor water my houseplants. Happy Harold didn't make it, so I got one from another source. One was from eBay and the other was from Violet Barn. If you order from Violet Barn I'm fairly confident that you'll get one that you like!


    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 9:39PM
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I apologize for being unclear. I believe that in the early days most, if not all, the african violets dropped their blossoms. At some point, the hybridizers developed what is sometimes called "sticktite" blooms which stayed on and that is what we mostly see today. I suppose it might be a surprise to have the blooms drop if someone had never encountered this.

Most of the "droppers" (not sure that this is an official term) are vintage varieties. I've never found that they dropped too early, but some are fairly messy. Happy Harold is a messy one but Feather doesn't seem to toss its flowers around so much. I did suggest, somewhat tongue in cheek, that we just call the droppers "self-cleaning" like petunias, but I doubt that the AVSA is likely to act on that suggestion.

As to why the photos differ, quite a few of the AVSA photos have come from the magazines and are older. Not only may the color reproduction be different, some of our vintage plants don't seem to be quite the same as they were. Of course, Donna is right about the cameras and some photos may be adjusted in some way for whatever reason.

Since I've looked the Violet Barn's Happy Harold, I'd be interested in another opinion on this. It looks to me as though it may have changed (mutated?) slightly from the original. For one thing, they list it as a small standard and Happy Harold should have the potential to be large. Obviously people like it, but something about it looks different to me.

Barrington Bloomers blog shows a 1977 AVSA photo (b/w) of a huge one. My own plant used to get reasonably big although it hasn't done so well lately. It may have gone downhill after I tossed it and then retrieved it from the garden one winter.

That's why I was considering replacing mine when I recently had a pest issue, but I decided to keep my own and see if I can get it to improve. I did see a plant online that had come from The Violet Barn and it had that variegation so you would probably be pleased with it. The variegation does depend somewhat on the grower; I've gotten some and had them turn greener.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 1:51AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

I like oldies - and some of them are treasures and some - so-so. Depends what are your expectations. Usually the WOW factor at the peak of their bloom is great - but they do not as floriferous as modern hybrids and if they are heavily variegated - as the one on a Violet Barn pic - it probably blooms twice a year just because there is not enough chlorophyll to support the blooming. "Tiger", "Anna Kreek" are uncomparable at their peak, but you need patience to wait till another burst.

And the dropping factor - some - barely hold petals for a day, and some - like "Feather" can be self cleaning to your advantage.

For me - extra-high variegation is trouble - the plant is slowing down. Need to feed it extra nitrogen to keep it growing and blooming.

I think we all need to try vintage plants, there is a lot of charm in them, but again - if you do not like it - pass it on, try another one. I had White Madonna for some time - and was never in love with it - but I got Blue Boy from one of our GardenWeb members - and I love it - and it is a dropper and it is messy - but the royal blue of its abundant cheerful blossoms - always makes me smile.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 4:46PM
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Donna..which did you lose? The cuttings or the plant? 'While you were out of town'

I believe Violet Barn's, Happy Harold is out of stock. I emailed, but they haven't replied. Guess they're busy.
Maybe a phone call will get faster results. Thanks much, sorry you lost your plant..

Diana..what you said makes sense. It seems many plants have changed over the years, but thousands have been replaced.
Thanks for the explanation.

When I see a picture of a plant I plan on ordering, I expect it to look like the photo. I don't think that's too much to ask.. :)
If I come across a nursery that posts pictures that don't look like the plant I purchased, more often than not, I won't reorder from that company.
Thankfully, it doesn't happen often. In some cases, certain plants must mature before resembling 'shape/color' mom.
I'm not an expert Saintpaulia grower, but I assume the same applies to African Violets. Or maybe not. lol.

If you don't mind me asking, what type of pest attacked your AV's? Was it Mealy?

Hi Irina..Don't get me wrong, I jump for joy when my AV's bloom, but foliage is important, too.
I think part of the problem is, over the years, many many years, I collected non-variegated plants..The last few years, I've been more inclined to go with a variegated foliage.
Variegated foliage justifies the lack of flowers..lol.

I may not have ANY African Violets left anyway. I made a huge mistake..will start a new thread. Toni

PS..thanks for all your help. Although I'm still confused about 'dropper' and 'messy.' lol.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 3:54PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

The current blossoms (sticktite) just get brown, wilt and dry on the stems. The droppers - flower opens - and 2-3 days later the corolla - still fresh - drops off leaving the pistil and beginning of the berry - which wilt later. This corolla - the colored part of the flower - gets stuck on the leaves, wilts or rots there, gets on the mat, stains the mat ... that's messy.

I do not know about exact same photo of the exact same plant. Recently the prices on violets on ebay are so low - so if you get a starter for $2.99 - you want it to be documented and photographed and certified that it is one and the same...As long as the variety is right - and the plant is in a good condition - I personally will be OK with it.

Even if something happens - you have enough violet buddies to send you a beginning of a new collection. I survived INSV virus - when I filled the dumpster with my plants - and it didn't stop my addiction.



    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 5:37PM
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Irina, I know the berries you're speaking of. Every so often, after blooming, one would berry.

Have you ever tried creating a hybrid? Seems easy enough. I kept saying, next time I see a pistil, I will 'try' to create a hybrid. Even though it takes time, but where am I going?? lol.

So, guess my African Violets were sticktites and droppers.

Irina, thanks, but I can't accept cuttings. For one thing I'd be worried they'd die. I would feel terrible.
Thanks anyway.

What happens with INSV virus? How awful!! I can't imagine tossing large amounts of plants in the compost. You must have been sick to your stomach. Toni

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 6:49PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Toni - the story is like this - you know that something wrong, you treat for this, that and nothing seems to help. on the other side - this virus is not evident if the plants are transplanted, fed and taken care on time - it is only when the culture suffered - I got an epiphany and took them to the extention office (extension??) and they confirmed it. After that - I was relieved - at least I knew what to do and how to get over it - because it was plagueing me for a year. It was not compost - it was to Dumpster in a sealed bag.

I did I say cuttings - I correct - starters.


    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 12:53PM
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Irina, you're lucky you have an extenion office nearby. We're not far from Chicago...it's unlike the country or small towns where one is bound to find someone who knows/analizes soils.

Most people in this part of Il could care less about plants..don't get me wrong, many hire landscapers to mow their lawns, and plant a few annuals in the front yards. The few tropicals sold are used as annuals..In autumn, most are discarded for Thursday's trash pickup.

Yep, you said dumpster, but I thought compost sounded---a little nicer...didn't want to hurt feelings.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 9:00PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Toni -

it is a county extension - so they should have one in your county - and they should have an INSV test. We are really small fish - but this virus is decimating cuttings of impatiens, geranium, etc. - cash crops - so they have it not because of us. And it is not a soil test - it is a tissue test. And they do soil test too - again - for the moderate price for everybody who lives in a county - but they are created mostly to help people who grow plants for a living. I dealt with 2 counties - and in both of them people were more than nice and helpful. So - do not despair = if you need them - talk to them and check if you can send them something for a test, you do not need to drive, you probably be OK with just mailing them a sample.

dumpster - because this is an extremely contagious infection - and it can take on outside plants too provided thrips are munching on contaminated plant and then on healthy.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 2:25PM
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Hi HH,
Just to add to the conversation about variegation, temperature affects variegation. If you have a hybrid which loses its variegation from daytime heat, grow it on a low shelf where it will get a 10 degree change in temperature
at night.
fred in nj

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 6:22PM
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Howdy All...Now that summer 'finally' came, we've been very very busy, digging and redigging the garden/s: Next is tilling. Also been hauling plants outside.

Hi Irina..how have you been? Sorry I'm responding late. Irina, I'd have no idea how to find a county extension employee. The county we're in covers a large portion of Il. Numerous cities, including Chicago.

Still, you had to be heart-broken tossing plants. I used the word compost because it sounds better than dumpster..lol..didn't want to hurt your feelings. :)

Hey Fred..And how are you? It's been a long time.
About shelves. Maybe I have a pic or will take one.

There are three shelves in the window. The first/top shelf holds Caudex plants/succulents. The middle/second and last/third holds African Violets..Or I should say, held. Since the Mealy episode, I ended up tossing a good number.

I miscounted the last time I responded. I said there were 13 violets left. There are actually 15 but one will probably go in the compost, or as Irina said, dumpster. :)

I discovered most variegated plants, regardless of type, need not only sun but a cool period to keep variegation.
The window must be cool enough because my variegated violets remained variegated.
One violet 'was' a, oh can't recall the name, maybe Fisherman's Paradise?? It was beautiful. Its leaves were green, white and deep pink. It was at least 4-years old, and one that had to be tossed.

Irina, I really am sorry about your violets. It's difficult to detach what we love. I KNOW how much you care for your violets.. Toni

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 1:03PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Toni -

what's the name of your county? I can find an extention office for you - by googling it! You have your town telephone yellow book/white book - it should be in your white book in a very beginning.

I think I can find a Fisherman's Paradise for you somewhere on a shelf.

Toni - if your plant is seriously sick - you decide - to treat it, to take a leaf or a crown cutting to root - or to chuck it - and try to find the same variety from another source. You do not get heartbroken. You want healthy blooming plants - and if it is not working, you need to get to the cause and deal with it. Some plants just do not grow well in IL - and there is nothing you can do - they were bred in FL - and they miss FL.

Regarding a 4 years old plant. 2 -2.5 years max - and after that - you need to either restart it from a leaf or a sucker- or rejuvenate - take the crown cutting - and reroot it. Otherwise the plant is just getting old and decrepid. And it gets more susceptible to rootrot and just doesn't bloom that well.

And the plant you grow from the leaf - is biologicaly the same plant as an original mother plant (most of the time, sometimes they sport). So - do not feel guilty if you are going to lose the plant #15, you have time to put a couple leaves down - and get a bunch of babies from the old plant. They will be young and strong and they will do better.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 7:21PM
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