Starting a new club

bspoffordOctober 3, 2007

Well, what an exciting month September was. I offered to teach a class on growing violets through our local adult education program. I was worried when only seven people had signed up, so I got our local paper to write an article about the adult ed program and yours truly. We ended up having 15 people sign up for the class and 18 showed up!!! And many have asked for another class SOON.

I'm going to try to start a local AV club here in So. Maine and can use any guidance or advice you can share. I do belong to a club in NH, and will ask for some information there too.

Thanks in advance for all your help.

Barbara, giving it the big YEE-HAW

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robitaillenancy1(zone 5)

Good for you, Barbara.

If you call or write to, they will give you a packet of information on starting a new club.

Everyone likes freebies, so try to take as many extra leaves in as you can spare. You might show off a special blooming plant as well to get them enthusiastic about the club.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 11:49PM
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Thanks, Nancy. I did send AVSA an e-mail but haven't had a response yet. I'll make a phone call tomorrow.

I provided everyone in the class a new noid to practice re-potting into a 1-1-1 mix with a wick, and about 1/3 brought a violet in that needed some type of rescue. I also carted about 30 of my own plants to the class so they could see some of the possibilities. As a whole they were pretty pumped up. I had a couple of mine that had some culture breaks and saved them for the class. It was so fun to watch the expressions on their faces when I started taking off leaves and a 14 inch plant went down to a 6 inch plant. Of course, those leaves were put down for an early spring class even though they were a little old. Nothing to lose...


    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 12:04AM
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Hi Barbara,
It's great that so many people showed up for the class. I just hope that you can keep them interested in growing. I have been a member of a club or two for over 20 years and have seen possible members turned off by too much business meeting. Keep the business short and the programs long and interesting. See if you can find a speaker for a meeting or two and by all means push for them to join AVSA. You can send for slide and video programs and soon many of the material can be purchased on DVDs. Always have a couple leaves around for newbies and if you have enough to parcel out, use a lottery system as a prize. My old club used to reward members who were on time with a ticket which was used to pick a packet of leaves or a plant to take home. Try to convince the members to grow named plants so thay eventually you could have an AVSA sponsored show.
Once again, good luck.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 2:33PM
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Thanks for the advice, Fred. I too want less business and more violet 'stuff'.
The information from AVSA is on its way, and I've been given some contacts here in the NE too. Next week I'll scout out some meeting places and then schedule the first meeting. Hoo-boy....
I will definitely encourage the acquisition of named violets when possible. It won't take too long to get tired of the usual stuff we see at the local nurseries and stores. I have seen only one named violet in the state, it was an Optimara at HD. Mail order, e-bay, and plant sales at AV shows in Massachusetts are about the only resources here. Dang...

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 10:40PM
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Wow Barbara, that is awesome! You go girl. I love seeing leaders in action.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 6:53AM
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Thats great! Hope you can easily work out all the details! It is a shame how many people have a few violets from the local stores and never know about all the wonderful color and leaf variety and also the trailing, mini's etc. I think the AVSA would pick up a lot of members if this could get out to more people! Take care. tish

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 8:32PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Glad your class went well, Barbara. :)

Was it a single meeting or did it meet over the course of several nights/days?

What all did you cover? Did you find you had mostly newbies?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 9:59PM
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Thanks to all for your encouragement and advice.

Paul - since we had no idea what kind of turnout to expect, we scheduled one class for 2 hours with room to add a third hour. I spoke briefly about the history and natural growing conditions, then reviewed water, food, light, and temperature needs. We mixed up a big batch of 1-1-1 potting mix (with extra perlite), and then everyone selected a NOID I furnished to repot out of the heavy peat mix into a wicked pot on a reservoir. Some of the people had brought in a rescue violet to groom, trim, repot, etc. Then we potted up some leaves. That covered the two hours, and I ended it there, as it was a good breaking point. As far as newbies, one person brought in an Everfloris variety, and that was the only named violet in the group. All the rest had NOIDs from various sources. Many of them had been growing one or two off and on, but with varying amounts of success.

In retrospect, a one night class is okay, especially if we can get the club going, which I know we can, with this much interest. That way you could think of it as a year-long class, once a month.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 10:47AM
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Where are these meetings happening? Are you the person who posted about something starting up down in "Bidd-i-fidd"? I'm in Porkland... bew-hew, no local violet mentors for me :-(

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 3:57PM
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The meeting has been scheduled! Wednesday, Nov. 14, 6pm, at the Center of Technology, 23 Maplewood Ave, in Biddeford. That is next to the high school.

If your'e in Porkland, Maine, you now have mentors. Just make sure you show up and introduce yourself!

See ya there.


    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 8:15PM
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yeah but... what I meant was I'm in Porkland and I don't drive, so I can't get down to Bidd. :-(

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 11:14PM
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Hey Barb-- Congrats on the new classes and club. Im just wondering where all this new found energy came from. Last I remembered you wouldnt even log a photo on the forum. Just kiddding, go girl.

Well, kid we have another big game on our hands, may the best team win!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 12:07PM
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It did. See my post about knotting wicks, then I won't have to repeat myself.

m3rmald, time to call in some favors to get a ride...? I will let you know if anyone from Portland is coming, but I need a more specific location for you to see if a carpool is feasible.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 9:39PM
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I wasnt referring to the past , but to this coming sunday.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 10:28PM
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There I was living in the past again.... I haven't followed football much this fall due to the series, but I have kept track of the Patriots. It opught to be a good game. And hopefully I can again say 'it did'.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 9:26PM
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Howdy again Barbara
I'm on Sherman Street (queue Elvis' back-up singers: "In the ghett-ooooooo")
I left my email in yer other thread on the Maine forum thingy, but here it is again if you wanna pass it on to anyone you might know who might want to talk about more deets (my phone number, street address, maybe a discussion about me tossing in some $$ for gas/toll/coffee/snacks/general-hassle-tax or whatever)
violetride @

Thanks for answering my posts here, I really appreciate it & am thankful to you for starting this club/group--I'm just antsy to actually get myself to it :-)

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 1:33AM
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It did.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 9:32PM
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erlyberd(Z5 CT)

Well how did the meeting go?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 6:50PM
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Of 34 personally notified by phone or mail, 2 showed up. There were also flyers posted around town. That was sort of disappointing, but I expect the next meeting to be better attended. There were probably at least 5 people that indicated interest but had schedule conflicts, babysitter problems, etc. Both were experienced growers, so the short program I planned on putting down leaves was not necessary, so we just had a very nice chat about how each of us does certain things. I took four seed flats of leaves, hoping to get rid of them, and managed to share only about 1/2 tray. But on the really bright side, a firm meeting date of the first Wednesday of each month was established, and we can go from there.

Thanks for asking.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 8:00PM
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