Friday, October 8, 2010

African Violets

In May of 2007 the pianist and I attended a celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary! Our daughter bought a large number of African Violets for the table settings! African Violets are beautiful, but fussy, and if you are to keep them in good health the care is rigorous. We ordinarily couldn't be bothered maintaining plants that are not user friendly,beautiful notwithstanding. However ,given the circumstances, these are a keepsake. Having a greenhouse and a potting shed is an advantage to maintaining house plants through the rest period they enjoy, and the necessary pruning, splitting and repotting, but the real secret is care during the bloom period. The violets are the pianist's wards and she is as fussy as they are. She bottom waters them and gently strokes the leaves with warm water. She maintains them by situating the plants with a good view of the east. She feeds them every 10 days or so, lightly, and pinches unwanted growth and spent blooms to extend the season. She does the same with the second cousin of the violets, a Streptocarpus that was given by a good friend years ago and therefore also a keepsake. We still have after 3 and 1/2 years, almost all of the African violets and their offspring. I could never do this labor of love, since I am too impatient. Plants of a keepsake nature are nurtured not only because they are beautiful, but because they have meaning, history,and relevance to the ongoing relationship of our family. Embrace the present because you can't take them with you!

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