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Hello!

Posted by Helmine none (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 21, 13 at 16:21

I've been reading the messages with some interest. I'm getting back into violets to a mild degree. I've never shown, but I used to live down the street from Volkmann African Violet Nursery which existed for many years in Dallas, TX . I had hundreds of plants at one point, wandered through their greenhouses often.
I wrestled them for many years through moving, family deaths, different multiple cats and all kinds of things for years before I gave most away and killed the rest.
Here's a photo of my current setup. I have two unlabelled Optimara semi minis and a couple of other plants on a very narrow windowsill. I repotted them into plastic cups from the tiny pots they were in, and wicked them into smuckers jars. They were a little beat up when I got them, but have perked up a little. The window gets only indirect lighting throughout the day, and I'm supplementing with a 100 watt equivalent flourescent bulb in a clip on lamp.

At the end of the row by the plant food bottle you can see two tiny minis (one is a mini trailer) from Violet Barn ordered after not being able to find any violets in my extended neighborhood. They just came today. I have a couple leaves coming in through ebay.

Through your posts I've discovered there's a show this very weekend at a favorite local nursery. I hope I don't go bananas!

This post was edited by Helmine on Thu, Mar 21, 13 at 16:28


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Hello!

Hi Helmine,

Welcome! I'm getting back into African violets as well and have found nothing but useful info in the forum, it's very easy to lose track of time and get lost in the old posts. And it's very easy to "go bananas" with violets!

Love that red one, really stands out against the gloomy outdoors. What are the names of the two tiny ones from the Violet Barn? I'm focusing on small AVs this time around.

Have fun at the upcoming show. Let us know if you find any good plants.

Sprout


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RE: Hello!

The red one really is spectacular. I'm usually a blue/purple fiend, but I had to get it, too. It has full size flowers, easily an inch and a quarter across, considerably bigger than the other.

The minis are Rob's June Bug, which is precious and loaded with buds, and Amadie Trail trailer. Amadie Trail did not arrive in the best shape. I think it was probably fine when they packed it up, but somewhere along the line it got cold and has considerable leaf damage. I think I'm going to be pretty careful with it and water it sparingly with an eyedropper for a while. The centers look pretty good, and there's a crown under some leaves that looks good too. I'm not sure whether or not it has too many crowns (there are at least 5, but some trailers seem to like that, in my experience). I'm going to wait a couple weeks and if it's doing better I'll cut some of the extras off, leave it with 3 or so. Poor little tyke. It's really weenie.


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RE: Hello!

Helmine,

It's a bit difficult to tell from the picture but the third plant from the left looks too deep in the soil and maybe the one next to it as well. What are you using for your potting media? (Not trying to be critical, just helpful). Otherwise, your plants look great! Have fun at the show and check the AVSA website for all the up-coming shows.

Linda


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RE: Hello!

Helmine,

I plan to be at the show/sale today in Dallas, and possible again Saturday.

Lonnie


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RE: Hello!

Hello, Lonnie, Linda, Sprout!
I'll look forward to meeting anybody at the Dallas show ^_^

That third plant from the left are broken leaves I salvaged when I first got the violets. They are just placed in a ring around the edge of the pot, so it's not an actual plant. The fourth plant from the left is actually a bit of Dichondra from outside... I pulled it up bare root and soaked it overnight with water and a bit of hydrogen peroxide to clean it, I wanted to see if it would work indoors, maybe as a terrarium plant. I always thought it was a cute little weed. It's an experiment. I also have a little annual ivything... I don't know what it is. I first encountered it as a houseplant in Colorado belonging to a friend, that I coveted mightily, but she would never give me any, lol. I found some unlabelled in a nursery with the groundcovers years later here in TX, and have grown it off and on. It dies in the winter, it dies from extreme heat, but it reseeds itself abundantly. This one has grown from a little tiny seedling inside. I have some bigger fluffier ones outside.

In reading I can see I'm going to have to work on my soil mix. In the past, I used to buy a huge duffle bag of AV soil from Volkmann Bros which lasted me for years, and I don't have that option anymore. I just used some potting soil that I had. I will give the violets better soil when I pot them on. They were in those little thimble things which are close to the size of solo cups but not quite. So they don't actually have much of my current soil in there. In the picture some of the leaves in back appear to be begging for light, but in fact they are just smushed up against the window ^_^ I need a table or a ledge or something. They mostly fit, so it's okay for now. I used to move everything to a baker's rack that I still have in the garage, so I'm sure to deploy that soon.


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RE: Hello!

Helmine, so glad to have you on the forum. I look forward to hearing more of your adventures. Here is a pix of my old baker's rack that I use as one of my set ups.


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RE: Hello!

Hello, Perle de Or! How cute is your baker's rack! And your handy shading cafe curtain. I used to use my baker's rack more in my old apartment, because the shelf bars were too far apart for the cats to walk on it easily, they are further apart than yours. I would ring it with plants the cats hated to chew on (took me a while to find some, but settled on kalanchoes) so they wouldn't easily think about getting up there. That worked mostly pretty well. I couldn't use curtains, because I needed all the light from that window although it got a bit intense in the late summer. What I ended up doing was cutting plastic tracing vellum to fit the window panes (I worked in a graphic arts studio, we had a roll) and gluing it to the glass with little dots of elmer's in the corners. I had a nice little garden at the old apartment.
I then doubled my cat population when I moved again, and indoor gardening became nigh unto impossible. The last of them died of old age a couple three years ago. I have a couple of non-climbing rescue dogs now, no cats (unless one shows up), and it's an unprecedented luxury to think I won't have to carefully arrange everything like Tetris to keep plants in and cats out. It's a little boggling to consider, actually.


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RE: Hello!

Here's a photo of my little annual ivything (the outdoor version) in case anybody recognizes it. It's not a lobelia, although the flowers kind of resemble one. Flowers pretty constantly, in and out. Leaves are about as big as a dime.

This post was edited by Helmine on Fri, Mar 22, 13 at 13:58


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RE: Hello!

Well, at the risk of looking odd talking to myself, I'm going to natter some more! ^_^
I did go to the African Violet Show today, but I'm not sure I met Lonnie. I talked to several lovely people, though. Lonnie, if you remember a 50 year old woman in jeans and a light blue hooded sweatshirt with a variegated knit scarf, that was me!

I bought 3 minis and a standard. And a leaf. That wasn't too bananas, I'm relieved. And 2 3-gallon bags of soil. So I won't be having soil issues for a while. Chatted for some time with the wonderful man who had mixed it all up, but missed his name. I took a lot of pictures of the show plants, but in the interests of composition and filling up the picture plane, I see I cropped out a lot of the name tags, sigh. Maybe I'll go back tomorrow and take notes, more pictures. Some serious beauties.
I got :
Minis:
Heritage Frolic
Jolly Wine-O
Jolly Dark Clouds

The standard is:
Buckeye Northern Star, and wow, is it a beauty

and my leaf is:
Frozen in Time. Actually, 2 leaves in there.

New Plants from Violet Barn:
I had to take 10 leaves off my tiny Amadie trailer today, the cold damaged ones. I had hoped they were just burned at the ends, but they were too far gone after 24 hrs, so I pulled them off before they rotted down the stem. At least all the growth centers still look healthy and firm. There are still 5 damaged leaves on there, but if they don't deteriorate further I think they have enough good area to benefit the plant. I wonder why the other mini shipped in the same box has minimal damage... it's odd. I think they will both survive, barring the advent of some unknown fungal horror.

I stared at the show plants for some time, looking for any variety I might have grown before. The only one that looked familiar was Blue Harbor. I wonder if Volkmann's ever had that one.


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RE: Hello!

Helmine,
Three minis, a standard, and leaf could be just the beginning of things to come :)

Amadie trailer, poor little gal, I haven't taken the leap of faith of mail order yet so I'm clueless as to the contrast between the plants' conditions. I like to take close-up photos of struggling plants so I can see how they've changed months down the line after I've nursed them back to good health. I hope with your conscientiousness little Amadie will make it.

Sprout


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RE: Hello!

Thank you, Sprout! I think the worst is over for little Amadie, although I had to remove another 3 leaves today. Unless a new trauma comes, she's got proven soil, a great window, and I've nursed plants back from worse shape before. The plant had a healthy start before this damage happened, and is still strong. Probably the greater fault is mine, should have waited on the mail order a little longer. I live in North Texas, we already have daffodils, iris, blooming pear trees and roses, and other states are still having blizzards. It does seem to have been an especially chilly Winter this year. Technically Spring is still imminent, not arrived, calendar-wise. If I mail order again, I'll probably wait until late April next time.

I am encouraged to have a great start to my new violet plantation! My goal is to have a dozen exceptional minis, and about a half dozen or so standard violets. I do love standard violets, but you can have so many more minis in the same space. For me, I know there is a critical violet mass that I cannot exceed, or risk a cycle of neglect.
I probably will be a propagating fiend again, I do really enjoy that. What I love to do with the babies is give them away or trade them for other items or supplies.

This post was edited by Helmine on Sat, Mar 23, 13 at 12:32


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RE: Hello!

Helmine,
April sounds like a safe month to mail order, any later and I fear plants might get cooked in hot summer weather.

By the way, I learned the hard way to isolate new plants during my previous go-around with indoor gardening. Yesterday I found greyish fuzz on each of the pollen sacs of a new unnamed Optimara. I have no idea what this fuzz is. Thank goodness the plant was already in isolation. I've linked below to my original inquiry about this fuzz.

Isolate, isolate, isolate... needless to say this plant is in CDC-worthy quarantine ;)

Here is a link that might be useful: Grey Fuzz on Pollen Sacs


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RE: Hello!

Be careful with the 100 watt bulb. It could burn or even bake the violets.

Nancy


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RE: Hello!

Hey, I like your wicking bottle idea of using old jam jars. Just stick the flowerpot on the jar's opening. What do you use for the wick. I use nylon string. Always looking for new ideas.

Canukgirl


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