Thursday, September 21, 2017

In Bloom

For peace of mind

Since my new collection of African Violets are meant to renew the soul and distract me from the approaching season of dark, I'm resisting the urge to disbud and rip off leaves that are damaged from shipping or leggy in the attempt to grow out "perfect" violets. 
These first three came with buds just poking up through the leaves. 
The 8 leaves that arrived on Friday all seem to have survived the stress of mail delivery. It only took 2 days from the email announcing they had shipped until they appeared in my mailbox. 

I'll need to add one more to my shelf because: 13?
Cirelda (3620) 03/01/1979 (P. Tracey) Double pink two-tone. Quilted. Semiminiature trailer (CA 202, 1979)

Hearts Aglow (8516) 11/09/1996 (S. Sorano) Semidouble fuchsia star/ivory blush. Dark green, quilted/red back. Standard

Honky Tonk Blues (9526) 12/17/2005 (Lyndon Lyon Greenhouses/P. Sorano) Single purple sticktite frilled star/violet-red overlay in eye. Medium green, plain, quilted, serrated. Semiminiature

Mac's Just Jeff (9478) 09/29/2005 (G. McDonald) Semidouble coral red pansy/variable darker fantasy. Mosaic variegated medium green, white and variable pink, plain, scalloped. Miniature

Midnight Rascal (8259) 07/28/1995 (S. Sorano) Semidouble medium blue pansy/raspberry frilled edge. Medium green, ovate, quilted/red back. Semiminiature

Ness' Angel Glitter (8132) 01/19/1995 (D. Ness) Semidouble fuchsia ruffled pansy/darker sparkle fantasy, edge. Dark green, pointed, serrated/red back. Semiminiature

Pastel Princess (10833) 04/27/2016 (D. Lamphere/Lyndon Lyon Greenhouses) Single light blue sticktite frilled pansy. Medium green, scalloped, girl foliage. Standard

Persian Lace (8264) 07/28/1995 (S. Sorano) Double white frilled pansy/pale blue-blushed lower petals, light blue-veined top petals. Dark green, plain, wavy, serrated/red back. Semiminiature

Precious Rose (Lyon) Double white star/rose edge. Variegated medium green and white, ovate, serrated. Standard

Tequila Rose (LLG) Mellow, light pink single/semidouble pansies. Flower face has heavy glistening effect. Wide raspberry edge is fringed. Medium green, quilted foliage. Possibly a compact grower. 2017 Standard (User Database)

Tiger Trail (6897) 07/13/1988 (P. Harris) Double bright fuchsia/pale pink back. Variegated, quilted, glossy. Standard trailer (Western)

Tropical Sunshine (LLG) Vivid! Yellow, semidouble and double stars, with a wide white edge, surrounded by a fringed green edge. Medium green foliage is wavy and serrated. 2017 Standard (User Database)

Twist 'n' Shout (8285) 07/28/1995 (S. Sorano) Semidouble light pink pansy/red frilled edge. Medium green, ovate, quilted. Semiminiature

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

For the love of African Violets . . . here I go again!

In the beginning there is hope

In August of 2017 I had exactly 4 African Violet plants left. They were all Tiger Trail. All in bloom on windowsills. An impulse decision to turn ONE lighted shelf back on and start a new collection of AV's struck early in the morning of August 29th.

I went shopping at Lyndon Lyon Greenhouses. I bought 4 plants:
Honky Tonk Blues
Ness' Angel Glitter*
Pastel Princess*

They arrived very quickly, three budding and ready to flower. Cirelda had at least three crowns but all "babies" that needed separating. Surgery went well and all 3 were potted up. Because the shelf is pretty bare. And that's what we do when promising to limit our collection. (* means one leaf was plopped into a pot of it's own to further break the limitation guidelines previously mentioned.)

Yesterday an order for 8 leaves was placed with the same vendor:
Tropical Sunshine
Mac's Just Jeff
Precious Rose
Heart's Aglow
Twist 'n' Shout
Tequila Rose
Midnight Rascal
Persian Lace 

Heaven help me?
(No. It'll be fine :) 
picture soon but I gotta go start my day.

Friday, July 3, 2015

More from AVSA magazine

Back issues worth another look

African Violet
Question Box from the March - April 2014 issue by Sue Haffner answers a question about "mossing off".  Although she had never heard the term, after further research she concluded it was another name for "air layering".  
She directed readers to a previous issue from May - June 2013 with an article by Sharon Rosenzweig, "Air Layering your leggy African violets." 
For African Violets it would be a way to root a long "neck".  Instead of decapitating the plant and taking your chance that it survives the surgery, you root the bare stem first. Remove several rows of old leaves and scrape the stem slightly. Wrap damp sphagnum moss around the stem and secure plastic wrap at the base and near first row of leaves. Roots will grow into the moss over the next few weeks and THEN you cut the lower half of the old plant off. Genius. 
I'm trying it on one of mum's palm trees!

In an effort to document some of my new arrivals as they become a part of my daily routine of hovering over plants again, I plopped my sample onto the page of one found in the magazine.

I found an example of Jolly Orchid photographed in the May - June 2014 issue.

Rob's Slap Happy was pictured in the January - February 2014 issue.

My first online African Violet mentor was Fred Hill from the GardenWeb site. (It has recently changed ownership and is now called Houzz.) His was a wise voice, suggesting common sense advice on how to coax mom's AV's into living longer and blooming better at my house. It was a running theme with my mom that I would liberate a blooming AV from her overcrowded windowsill and bring it to my house . . . to finish blooming and die. (She always laughed and said she had plenty more!) 

Fred offered practical advice and stayed above the fray when different factions of online groups sometimes failed to play nicely.  Soon after finding GardenWeb I came across a brand new MSN site called Violet Voice. I posted my exciting new find and was promptly yelled at by someone named Spike.  Fred followed me over there anyways and we became some of Mrs. John's first Charter Members.

My last issue of African Violet magazine before my membership lapsed had his In Memory tribute (July - August 2014).
Fred once sent me several leaves of Persian Prince. He placed them in a plain envelope with spacers so they wouldn't get crushed: for the price of a couple of first class stamps they arrived in just a few days and successfully grew on to become beautiful plants. 

I regret losing that one. Perhaps it's time to renew my membership with AVSA in his honor.
Plant pictured is Ma's Melody Girl and I am also growing Jersey Girl Trail.

From the March - April 2005 issue I found Nancy Robitaille's show schedule, "Disbudding For Show" and since I don't have the Grow To Show book, this is the next best thing I can find at the moment.  Not that there's any shows around here!
But I do like to grow out a plant for a while before letting it bloom. 
The African Violet world recently lost Nancy's knowledgeable voice. I counted her as one of my favorite online mentors as well.

Below is the list of most of my new collection. I have several that still need to be entered into First Class 2 manually. My version hasn't been updated since 2013.

Berry Splash (4107) 11/10/1980 (E. Champion) Double pink and fuchsia. Variegated, plain. Standard

Celery Sport Celery: Single blue wasp; Variegated longifolia, bustled. The sport is not variegated. (User Database)

Frosted Denim (8513) 11/09/1996 (S. Sorano) Semidouble light blue pansy/white edge. Medium green, plain, quilted. Miniature

Grape Glory (10531) 04/09/2012 (P. Sorano/Lyndon Lyon Greenhouses) Semidouble-double blue ruffled star/lavender fantasy, white edge. Medium green, plain, serrated. Standard

Jersey Girl Trail (10374) 11/22/2010 (R. Kurzynski) Single-semidouble fuchsia pansy. Medium green girl foliage. Miniature trailer

Jolly Cutie Pie (9712) 01/15/2007 (H. Pittman) Single-semidouble pink pansy. Dark green, plain, pointed, glossy. Miniature (TX Hyb, DAVS 1639)

Jolly Orchid (9719) 01/15/2007 (H. Pittman) Double orchid and white pansy. Medium green, plain, quilted. Miniature (TX Hyb, DAVS 1661)

Jolly Victory (9915) 03/07/2008 (H. Pittman) Double burgundy-red pansy. Medium green, plain. Miniature (DAVS 1669)

Lil Glimpse o' Spring (9932) 03/22/2008 (Lyndon Lyon Greenhouses/P. Sorano) Semidouble-double white pansy/green frilled edge. Medium green, wavy, serrated. Semiminiature

Mac's Elegant Green (MacDonald) Sdbl. white pansies with green edge. Medium green semiminiature foliage. Semiminiature (User Database)

Ma's Melody Girl (9132) 05/31/2002 (O. Robinson) Semidouble coral star/raspberry fantasy, band; thin white-green edge. Dark green, quilted girl foliage. Standard

Ness' Antique Red (D. Ness) Double dark red. Dark green, pointed, serrated/red back. Standard

Ness' Crinkle Blue (8136) 01/19/1995 (D. Ness) Double dark blue star/thin white edge. Dark green, quilted, serrated/red back. Semiminiature

Pixie Blue (2598) 09/16/1974 (L. Lyon) Single purple-blue/darker center. Plain, ovate. Miniature trailer

Ramblin' Lace (6361) 08/28/1986 (S. Sorano) Double light pink star. Variegated, plain. Standard trailer

Ramblin' Spots (7220) 10/21/1989 (S. Sorano) Semidouble-double pink/blue fantasy. Crown variegated medium green, plain. Standard trailer

Rob's Cool Fruit (8608) 05/31/1997 (R. Robinson) Double white pansy/rose-pink edge. Crown variegated medium green, white and yellow, pointed, serrated. Semiminiature

Rob's Heat Wave (7887) 06/02/1993 (R. Robinson) Semidouble light pink sticktite pansy/wide red frosted edge. Medium-dark green, quilted, serrated. Semiminiature

Rob's Love Bite (9039) 05/31/2001 (R. Robinson) Semidouble black-red pansy. Crown variegated dark green, cream and beige/red back. Miniature

Rob's Pewter Bells (7740) 07/06/1992 (R. Robinson) Semidouble silver-light blue large bell. Variegated dark green and white, pointed, quilted. Semiminiature

Rob's Whoa Nellie (8617) 05/31/1997 (R. Robinson) Double fuchsia pansy/white edge. Variegated medium green and white, pebbled, glossy. Semiminiature

SK-Apple Orchard (Kuznetsov) Beautiful "apple blossom" semidouble white blooms with light, rose-pink tips and edges to some petals. Medium, apple-green foliage. Semiminiature (User Database)

Spring Rose (9959) 03/22/2008 (Lyndon Lyon Greenhouses/P. Sorano) Double white star/frilled green edge. Light green, wavy, serrated. Standard

Wizard's Sunstrike (S. Jones) Single white wasp/yellow streaks. Light green, hairy/bustle back. Large

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lapsed AVSA Membership

Looking Back

My last issue of the magazine African Violet was July-August 2014.  Truth be told the final few issues I received before my membership expired went mostly unread. At about the same rate plant care went into a free fall worrying about other things.

I gathered my hoarded past issues onto the table and took another look. Catching my interest first, from the January-February 2014 issue, was A Beginner's Journey with 'Rob's Love Bite' by Jeannie M. Myers.  
This interested me most because I just ordered it! 
It arrived from Travis Violets as a baby still attached to the mama leaf. Included was a full page apology for his shipping delay and quality of plants not being up to his usual standard.  
6 plants arrived including a free, fairly large gift of Rob's Slap Happy. They seem fine!
My order of 8 plants from Rob's Violets also included a plant, Ramblin' Lace, still attached to the mama leaf. There was no note, plus they charged me about $5 more for shipping than the actual cost. That's like another plant . . . so I was a little cranky. I did leave a review on their website in order to receive the 8th plant "free" so my level of crankiness has subsided.

SK-Apple Orchard was the "freebie" and its uniqueness will be interesting to try growing out. Very light green leaves with the outer leaves looking almost like they are lacking something and might very well be the first to go if it thrives. The blossoms look like they came from an apple tree!

Ness Crinkle Blue is my prized treasure at the moment. 2 plants were actually sent! I set a few leaves right away of course.  And one had suckers that needed plucking right away. 
I stuck them in the pot to see if they live . . . 
(Limit Your Collection doesn't count for this one!)

Friday, June 19, 2015

Starting Over . . .


Sometimes it just has to be OKAY to begin again! 
I admit it:
I've killed a lot of African Violets in the last year. Once again, LIFE got in the way. I went from way too many plants to nearly none. Throwing water at them and promising to care for them "tomorrow" is sure recipe for disaster. 

I knew it while I was doing it. 
In hindsight it probably would have been better (easier on my soul) to just turn the lights off and throw everything in the trash all at once, rather than trying to coax the few survivors back to life. Trying to "fix" whatever ailed them - beyond obvious neglect - only prolonged the agony. 


When plant care stops being fun and instead feels like a chore it's probably time to look for other interests to bring joy back into your life. I bought a Schacht Ladybug Spinning Wheel and taught myself to make my own yarn! (But that's a different story on my other blog!)

I’ve paid my penance. 
I proved (to myself) I would care for one shelf of crappy plants long enough. A couple of weeks ago I decided to allow myself the reward of new plants. 
I am (happily) starting over!
2 orders have been placed.  Hopefully those 12 new plants (plus a freebie for leaving a review at Rob's Violets) will begin their journey through the USPS soon.  The first grower I ordered from was Travis Violets.  He replied in an email the he was "swamped" and the last time I looked my check hadn't even been deposited.  

In the meantime, I posted on the Facebook page for AV Nerds asking for help in my search for  Ness Crinkle Blue. Within an hour a kind lady from Missouri offered me one. And then sent me a box containing more than a dozen starter plants and leaves. They arrived ahead of the others . . . 
It has begun! 12 to 30 in just a few days?
Season 2 of the podcast All About African Violets is underway!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Changes Can Cause Problems


For a couple of months I watched as things did not quite look right with some of my plants. 
About a 3rd of the plants were in bloom and seemed fine.  By the time blooms started to fade though, centers started looking like crap.
Other, smaller recently divided plants developed a second crown or looked stunted. 

Centers that don't look "right"
makes me worry. 
I've been through this before!
BUT some things had gradually changed:
  • For most of the winter cold months I had rolled the shelving unit to the hallway off the kitchen so we could close off the area they normally grew. They went back once it got "warmer". Too soon?
  • I had started wick-watering more, with some bottom watering in individual saucers. That meant less leaching from top watering.
  • Domes were removed. 
  • Usual soil mix ingredients were out of stock all winter. I experimented! ONE WAS HIGH IN CLAY AND SAND texture. The other got horrible reviews. Were those people right?
Over Memorial Day Weekend I repotted EVERYTHING. Lots of duplicates got chucked into the trash if they looked too bad.   Nothing was really overdue for repotting but when I started turning out the plants it was clear the soil mix since December was too sandy. It was drying out way too soon. Some of the plants were still in Solo Cups. If what was happening was something toxic in the mix or a lack of nutrients, the small containers were perhaps bringing it on faster?

(It's only been 2 weeks but I am an optimist!)
  • I bought Miracle Grow potting soil and just added a little perlite. 
  • I potted a lot of things UP to a size larger than I had been doing, especially standards. (Future topic: SOLO CUPS...Solution or Part of the Problem?)
  • I put TALL domes back over everything on 2 of 3 shelves. THOSE look the most improved!
(At my request!) A local nursery started stocking TALLER DOMES when they opened for the spring. They're pricier than they should be! But the larger micro-climate seems easier to control for my conditions than the short domes. I'm going to go back to more of my tried & true top-watering method. Domes mean less watering, although over-watering is more obvious when I get it wrong!

On a positive note:
Violet Voice has it's latest Virtual Show online right now.
 (Go vote!)

I managed to get a few things entered before they started failing miserably. Some were sacrificed willingly for practicing more Design efforts. 
More about those efforts later! 


I'll do the best I can NOT to kill my African Violets on purpose
But crap happens sometimes! I'll see soon enough if I'm dealing with this right...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Fairy Tree House

One thing leads to another...

I bought a drill bit thing-a-ma-jig to cut circle shaped holes out of wood.  

Probably has more comprehensible (shorter!) name?

I wanted to cut pieces of birch different lengths and then drill plant-pot holes in the top. (I saw a centerpiece holding candles somewhere for inspiration.) Unusual Container ideas were floating around in my head for the coming Virtual AV Show! :)

So I played with polymer clay, baked, drilled, chiseled, whittled, cussed, applied band-aid, wood-glued.   
And produced this crafty piece of art. shush now!

Not exactly how I first envisioned it, but working fairy doors are going to take a little more planning.  Plus, round logs are harder to glue flat things to than I thought <grins>.
Plant is my sporty version of  
Ness' Fantasy Gold. 

Not much fantasy, but I finally got some "gold" - except every bloomstalk puts out a different colored flower on all 4 or 5 plants I've grown so far. And then very quickly the yellow turns into a ghastly orange/dead brown blossom?

This imitation palm-tree had it's rootball severely trimmed in order to play doll house fit.    May not be long for this world.   

BUT there's a couple more just like it on the plant shelf.  I'm hoping the next round of blooms on one of them will improve: pick a nice version and stick to it!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I Hunted; I Gathered.

Shake off the April snow...

I've been watching for the ingredients to use in a dish garden on my daily nature walks with the dog since last fall. Dropped acorns and moss that fell from the trees during all the high winds we've had this winter were gathered into mittened fingers, as I tried to juggle my collectibles with Jax's leash plus treats needed to convince her leashes are part of the routine at the end of our walk. (NO, you may NOT top off your 20 minutes of freedom in the field and woods by running across the road to the neighbors!)

I've had this piece of driftwood for a very long time, intended for my attempt at a natural dish garden someday. (It has a few teeth marks at the top as I've removed it from Jax's mouth at least twice.)
Yesterday I finally felt up to the project - with both spare time and the extra energy - so went off to gather moss, fungi and rocks I had "bookmarked" along our path.

EXCEPT it snowed a little the night before.
Gathering took more hunting than I thought it would!

This week Violet Voice members are putting together a mini-virtual African Violet show practice run ahead of the show planned for later. 
I've been DISBUDDING most of my plants for later.
Not many of them are in full bloom right now!

The plant used in this dish was supposed to be Optimara Little Moonstone.
I grew out 6 or 8 babies from the 2 leaves that survived the Round Robin exchange last fall. ONLY 1 from all I grew out bloomed true.
(A now proven argument for keeping more than one or two baby plants! The one blooming correctly was the only one with lighter colored leaves. I might have mistaken it for the "runt" and discarded it had I tried to decide which to cull sooner.) 

Most of them bloomed double solid purple.
A few have just a hint of the Cruella DeVille streak of white. ;)

Sunday, February 17, 2013



A method of repotting with the least amount of disturbance to the root system never fails to give me a little satisfaction with that final plop into place. You create the perfect size hole "molded" into the center of the pot with a (CLEAN!) pot the size the plant was just in.

The first step I've taken is to drop some of the largest sized pieces of perlite in the bottom for extra drainage. Then a thin layer of potting mix is added  - enough to level the height to make up for any root ball that has been trimmed from the bottom of the plant. If the old pot was quite root bound I usually remove an inch or so, plus snip the sides in several places.

I like to do a combination of top watering and saucer watering. 
Having a saucer beneath catches drips from top watering, plus feeds more slowly from the bottom if the water seems to be running right out. If the soil has dried out a little too much, it drains before the soil has a chance to absorb fresh water.

Place the temporary mold - in this case a spare solo cup similar to the one the plant had been growing in - into the center, on top of the already prepared layer and fill the space around the cup with potting mix.

Keeping your thumb in the solo cup, both holding it firmly to the bottom and pressing slightly against the sides as you fill, allows the dampened mix to form the size "molded" hole the root ball needs to fit perfectly into.

By filling in around the cup higher than it seems you would need, you are then able to smooth the soil mix into the crease.
(A little thump against the table might help it settle into place.)
The goal is to have the crown of the plant at just the right level above the rim of the pot when you're done. 
This plant is a young Blue Dragon, one of my Grow to Show hopefuls. It may too young as it's only just produced it's 1st three buds. They were removed.
Blue Dragon (9516) 12/17/2005 (Lyndon Lyon Greenhouses/P. Sorano) Double light blue large frilled star/raspberry edge. Dark green, plain/red back. Large.
It's week 12 already!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Potting Soil (with turkey poop?)

Troll in Bottle?

CHAPTER 6 Revisited

African Violets: A Gift from Nature 
by Melvin Robey. (1988) 

Understanding your Potting Mixture
Excerpt from previous blog entry on the topic of soil mix recipes:

"Why does someone suddenly switch from one potting mix to another? There are 5 basic reasons I can think of for this odd behavior in African Violet enthusiasts." 

~Melvin Robey:

1. Change for change's sake. (Possibly worriers, looking for solutions?)
2. Trying a friend's mixture. (It worked for them, so why not try it too?)
3. Trying out new ideas. (The experimenters!)
4. New products introduced. (A new marketing fad?)
5. New Cultural Practices. (Change to wick or matting, for examples.)

I will add:
6. Usual products unavailable because of seasonal retail marketing decisions.

There's no freaking peat moss or potting soil to be found this time of year NOT LACED WITH MIRACLE-GRO. I thought I found a couple of organic potting mix alternatives to peat moss:
Scott's Brand Earthgro Potting Mix was basically clay and sand. Read some really bad reviews after I got it home of course! I think it might make a good ingredient in a final recipe once it's been sifted. And pasteurized. I'm making this a habit now, no matter what source it comes from. 
Mickey Mouse Jar with 1st bloom!
Vigoro 8 qt. Organic Potting Mix has a much more organic texture. Says there's perlite added but damn little. I can deal with that. Of course, I didn't notice the bottom sentence on the bag says "no need to feed for 3 months"...WHEN will I learn to read ALL of the label? Went on an internet search to try and find out just what this product was "amended with". Found a Home Depot video
It's Turkey Litter?

Both had lots of rocks and bark... because if they use the word "organic" that must make it okay?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Virtual African Violet Show!

Countdown begins...

Violet Voice is once again planning an online African Violet Show. Members who wish to participate will spend the next 14 weeks "growing to show" and then will enter the results for display, in categories just as an actual show would be set up.

Instead of delivering our plants to the show location, we try to take the very best photo we can and submit our entries. 

New members are sure to be welcomed, so drop by soon and see what's happening! 

You might find you're in the mood to Grow To Show, too :)

Week 14:
What to do this week - Lesson One online.

Meanwhile, on my shelves . . .  
Things are growing!
Not sure if it's just my imagination or what, but perhaps they know spring is around the corner as I swear things are taking a growth spurt this week.  
I finally found the Jack's Classic 20-20-20 blend of fertilizer and will gladly set aside the Shultz brand so I can see how the plants respond to this more balanced diet.

Darling Blue Trail on the right is the cutting that arrived in September from Montana. The one on the left was started from a leaf from that cutting. 
The littler one that's blooming past it's mother is being allowed do grow pretty much however it chooses.  CUTE!

The larger plant is not being allowed to bloom. Leaves have been removed from the bottom rows and the plant has been lowered into the pot. Repeatedly.
(Leaves are bigger? And I've removed about 3 bloom stalks a week since it arrived!)
It has 2 well formed crowns and tiny little leaves that I'm hoping will become the next crown. (We need 3 Darling if you want to go to the show!)

A few of the plants started from leaves from the Round Robin have started to bloom. Von's Baby Jay, Optimara Little Crystal and Teen Bride are just beginning to brighten my stand with their blooms.
(In order from top, clockwise.)
Teen Bride was the only plant from the wick experiment to thrive. The others are barely surviving and I am about ready to call it quits on the constant wick-watering method.

I've spent two days rearranging my shelving unit so I could add an extra shelf of lights. I've had to give up some storage room but I've gotten my sewing table back! (It had become an overflow shelf, but 3 trays of plants in the middle of my cutting table makes quilting a little difficult.)

I have a quilt project that went on hold while I did some knitting. At the risk of blocking air movement, I found a place to display wall-hangings. 
As seen from the doorway.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

When the obvious stares back at you...

Temperature control and a bit of humidity can't hurt! 

In the past, growing plants under domes hasn't worked that well for me. 
The climate inside tends to be too moist.  
Self-confessed hoverers tend to over-water?
Condensation is generally excessive. 

I looked at 2 trays side-by-side on the shelf the other day and realized Tiger Trail babies under a vented dome were growing faster than than those in open air.  

Well, what do you know?! 

I went and found an extra dome for the tray without one. I do have the ends propped open with clothespins for maximum venting. 
And I'm trying hard to resist watering too much!

Temperatures are below seasonably cold right now and the wood stove gives the thermostat a false sense of what's "warm enough" for the rest of the house. 

I'm stubbornly nurturing ALL of these as treasured prizes and ignoring the "limit your collection" resolution for this variety. 
Never mind pointing out how big they'll get! 

The cream colored variegation seems to holding well for the ones that started that way. The pink tinged ones seem to be consistent as well. 
I like them all! 

I think I put one in a box I was packing to send home with Sara after Christmas.
And then I took it back.  How stingy?!

Nobody asked me, but ...

The latest issue of AVSA's magazine is out.
People are putting it down asking for hugs it's that depressing.
It was probably not by design that so many of the articles are about dead plants or terminal AV diseases that there's no cure for.
It's the dead of winter for many of us.
A little Hope & Hurry up Spring would have gone a long way to lift the spirits!

Even the lady who took over the Miniature column showcased what she called "mistakes".

I'm sorry... those are some seriously neglected plants.

The Thinking Small column was always my favorite of the magazine when written by Pat Richards.

Small Talk seems to suffer from "it's all been said before" syndrome.
Or "confession is good for the soul"?   (For goodness sake... snap out of it!)

A mistake is accidentally  ruining the center of the little plant in a thumb pot just as it's about to bloom. 

Over fertilized, over watered or over zealous repotting. OR all 3!

I'm letting it bloom and trying to ignore how I crapped it up so fast.

A mistake MIGHT be planting a "strawberry" Mickey Mouse Jar full of plantlets you could not bring yourself to throw into the compost bin.

Mickey Mouse (H. Inpijn) Double dark blue. Dark green, pointed/red back. Miniature.

I might have gotten carried away with deciding which Mickey Mouse plantlets to keep. 
So I kept all of them! Shut up.

A few "Mickey Mouse" extras went into the terrarium that's been coasting along since it was blogged about here a very long time ago. (2009?) These were the "too little to bother with" plantlets that totally should have been discarded. And I would have too. Except the terrarium was nearly empty.
And they're living... for now!

One of my terrarium's biggest mistakes was using perlite in the soil and not getting around to fixing that after killing the moss that was going to hide it originally. All of the other plants have come and gone, too. Except the possible "Ming (false?) Arailia" growing in back.
It fills the jar now, but I still don't know what it is!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Progress Takes Its Own Time

Two weeks of growth in my  pasteurized "earth mix" at right.  Center plant is peat comparison. 
No swarm of creepy crawlies have shown themselves to suggest this was a very bad idea.  Yet.
I've pulled 4 or 5 tiny weeds. 
Hoping that's not an omen of other things able to survive 225 degrees in an oven.
Ma's Second Thoughts is giving me a second chance.  It was down to about 3 leaves. I walked it out to the window ledge for a few weeks of east facing sunshine. Except it's a bit cold and drafty. And I tend to forget to water things on that shelf often enough. Most of them are cactus plants so that works for them.  AVs not so much! 
It's back under lights.

Tiger Trail (PINK vs CREAM) have been divided. 
PINK seems less pink? 
CREAM is holding its color! 
One has been added to a MODIFIED 2-piece planter. 

All planters failed their former experiments and the plants in them removed and re-potted in an attempt to save them. 

Ness' Fantasy Gold and Sky n' Snow are doing much better. If you consider being once again back down to just 3 or 4 leaves better?   They both seem to prefer it OUT of those damn pots!  Hats off to those can make them work.  I fixed them . . .
(Well, time will tell if that's true or not!!)

MODIFIED 2-Piece Planters:
I took a power drill with a masonry bit and drilled a quarter-inch hole right through the middle of the inner pots. It took a really long time to drill through with a regular bit. 
Mason's bit (for cement) ...worked just like butter!

Not convinced plants fare well without drainage/leaching option.
Now there's space in the outer pot to catch drips if watered from top and can act as a saucer to water from bottom. Maybe. 
(Time will tell!)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"6 of one...half dozen of another"

"Graft" Babies on their own.

I separated the graft experiment offspring a couple of weeks ago and saved nearly all of the plantlets, no matter the size. There were slightly more variegated leaves than plain.
The plain leaves seem less unruly?

The odds any of them are actually a cross of Heaven's Reflection & Lime Jewel are probably slim. But what the heck!

The variegated leaf kept growing and the 2 parent leaves didn't seem to be "stitched together" at any place along the stems, although babies & roots were certainly mixed.   
The 2 types of leaves grew mixed around both stems.   
Probably to be expected!

Below the egg container is an actual plantlet of Lime Jewel and also Heaven's Reflections for comparison.

As sold by Ebay seller in August
Lime Jewel - December 2012

The original Lime Jewel received in August is proving difficult to grow! 
Leaves were removed. 
At first simply in an attempt to give the center leaves room to grow. And then just because I HATED the way they looked. 
It was Live or Die.

All new growth has developed but it's not what I'd call a well behaved plant in the least!

I'm determined to see this one through to blooming stage.  
The almost leafless plant photo below shows my Golden Rule:  
"Be Ye not afraid to yank the freaking leaves off!"
They grow back. Most of the time ;)

All the way down to this!
It looks as if it's "hungry" but I'm terrified of feeding it too much. I've started reducing number of hours lights are left on from 12 to 10. Mostly because it "feels" like stems are never really long enough and I'm wondering if length of hours lights are left on has something to do with this, rather than water pH or fertilizer. I continue to feed only twice a month - 15th(ish) and 30th(ish)
Ish equals a day or so later, but not earlier usually(ish).

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Wicked Experiment!

To Wick or Not to Wick?

(That's the experiment!)

Rebel's Sugar Pie - 1 wick, (through center hole of bottom and hanging slightly over edge)
1 modified Texas Style.
(Wick coiled in "C" on top 1/2" layer of Miracle-Gro Perlite,)

Katy Did - 1 wick, 1 not, 1 modified Texas Style. (Wicks added as above.)

Sassy Sister - 1 wick, 1 not.
(These all used my "earth mix")
Teen Bride - 1 wick, 1 not.
Potted up Nov 19 with peat mix.

(Wick added with darning needle up through center hole on bottom to hang a little over the side.)
Wick material 3/4" strips of pantyhose stretched thin.

This experiment in response to All About African Violets Podcast
Podcast 23 mentions using wicks VS not...
A listener comment posed a Wick Experiment Challenge for podcasts to come.