Friday, March 16, 2007

Show Me The Violets!

Show, show, show time! What is coming up in only one week and has everything you need to think spring? It is the Lakes Area Violet Grower's show! Please stop by and enjoy the beauty of the displays, appreciate the skill and the art that it takes to grow a show plant to such perfection and catch up with all our friends and other fellow violet enthusiasts!

We're a very lucky community to have so many opportunities to be involved with the plants that we love. Let's all make the effort to come together, visit all three of the upcoming shows (more of which will be posted about each of them as the time is nearer,) and bring some friends and neighbors so that we get even more people interested in African violets and their horticulture!

The Lakes Area Violet Growers will host their spring show March 23rd and 24th, 2007. It will be held at Linder's Greenhouse 270 Larpenteur Ave. W. St. Paul, MN. The hours will be from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm both days.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Drying African Violets!

What a great way to start thinking about spring! The newest trend this spring is to use dried blooms and blossoms in decorating things like your Easter baskets and table adornments. With the spring shows coming up and plenty of blossoms that would otherwise get tossed away after the show here's an idea that sure to please! This article is sent to us today with many thanks by Kathy Lahti!

Silica Gel is a granular material used by many professional florists, and it’s easy to use. The purpose of the drying material is to take all the moisture out of the blossoms. Use a large plastic food container at least four inches deep with a tight fitting cover. Put an inch of the silica gel in the bottom. Then very carefully lay the blossoms on the drying material. Next take a small plastic measuring cup with a spout and very carefully pour the drying material over the blossoms. Carefully pour the drying material around the flower until it is completely covered. Never lay flowers on top of each other.

This cute photo is an example idea of how the dried blossoms from African violets or gesneriads could be used on your Easter table. The picture is from a Williams-Sonoma add advertising their store.

Single blossoms take about four days to dry, semidoubles and doubles about a week.

When the blossoms are thoroughly dry, they are very fragile and must be handled very carefully. Use a plastic fork or large plastic spoon and gently lift the blossom from the silica gel. If part of the stem is left on the blossom, it will be easier to handle. The blossoms can be picked up by their stem with a tweezers. Use a small soft brush to remove any excess silica gel granules.

The double blossoms dry beautifully if you lay them flat and pour the drying material very carefully into and around all the petals. Your flowers should be as natural looking as possible, for this is the way they will dry.

African violets blossoms will change color and fade slightly. White African violets will turn cream color and not be stark white. Blues, and especially dark blues, will turn darker. An interesting thing: a white blossom with a green edge is very pretty because it comes out cream color with a green edge. So don’t be shy about using your white blossoms, because they are very beautiful.

By Kathy Lahti – Reference Material Used - Floral Design Concepts by Ruth Jo McCoy and the March 1979 AVM. Thanks again to Kathy for this post!!! Please leave comments too!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Questions for the Experts!!!

One of our actual club members wrote in asking for some advice today.... Let's all share some of the experiences that we've had to help answer this problem!!! M.K.F. writes:

I thought I'd send this out to any and all who could help with some suggestions on modifying my African Violet potting mix. I started making my own mix a couple of months ago with a soiless mix recipe I found on the AVSA website which primarily calls for a 1-1-1 mix of sphagnum peat moss, vermiculite and perlite with some dolomite lime and charcoal mixed in as well.
I'm finding that it is quite dense and I'm having trouble not only getting the wicking to start but also to keep it going as the mix dries out very quickly or it is not absorbing water very efficiently. Could you suggest an adjustment to the recipe or
suggest a different recipe mix that would be lighter and would absorb water better.
Thanks for your help with this!

Please leave comments for her! Check the post about leaving comments if you have any problems. Remember to ignore the "blogger, and password" part and just indicate either anon. or other user when replying!!! Feb. 18th's post has the directions to comment.