Thursday, January 28, 2010

What's In My Toolbox?

Funny you should ask, or maybe it is not funny. Having grown violets for many years I now have quite a few things that seem to work well for me.  When I first started growing and showing violets I used a #2 pencil and frankly that does work nicely removing blossoms that are just starting to form.

Then I discovered the sucker plucker.  It can be purchased through many of the AVSA commercial businesses.  As you can see it has a scooped pointed end and a sharp end. I use the scooped end to remove suckers and blossoms and the sharp end to dig out suckers, cut leaves, trimming and a variety of things that need to be removed.  The sharp end can easily cut a hole in a leaf so I am very careful using it.

My grooming tools took quite awhile to find them.  They are brushes I found in stores and make-up cabinet.  Q-tips are really great grooming minis and semiminis because they will remove dust but not leave any residue. I always take the brushes and small scissors to groom the plants before the show begins. 

At the far right of the picture is a knife that Jung Seed Company sent me.  It has a nice thing blade and not too big. I also found one at a Coast to Coast store.  I use it to trim the roots off a plant. Scrapbooking companies sell serrated scissors that I use to trim strep leaves.  It leaves a leaf with a similar design that is natural looking.

And last, but not least, are electrical tape and a permanent maker that I use to label plants.  The tape does NOT leave any residue on the pot.   I always use permanent markers because any other pens will fade with time being exposed to water. Thanks Sharon J. for the scoop!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"I'm a doctor, not a horticulturist, Jim!"

For all those Star Trek fans out there.... What? Am I the only one who watched? This is a question of diagnosis. Just what is going on in this photo?

There are a few things to notice in the picture. First, what are the enlarged green objects in the middle of the flower?

These are pollinated blossoms that are making seeds for this plant. The green pod starts swelling and getting large. These will get just a bit larger and turn a nice shade of tan. The bloom stem won't wither and die back like it usually would after the flowers fade. It will continue to remain upright and not shriveled even though all that's left is a stem with little brown pods.

A violet keeps it's seed head ON the plant and continues ripening for as much as 6 months till the seed is mature and viable. Sometimes it's hard to not accidentally groom off the seed pods, or knock into them when watering or caring for the plant. But, if you want to try to plant the seed it has to be ripened on the mother plant.

Another thing you'll notice about the photo is the damage to the petals of the flower. What's all this about??  It's thrip damage and perhaps a bit of a watering issue with the plant. Thrips are hard to see on light colored blossoms when they are moving about but the damage that they do shows up more readily on the light blossoms. Disbudding and continuing to keep the plant flower-free for a period of months will take care of the problem, as well as the use of some pesticides.

The flowers on this plant were likely pollinated by the insects. Usually a violet doesn't self pollinate. One more interesting thing about this particular plant is that it's a chimera. Will chimera seeds produce baby chimeras???? WHAT DO YOU THINK??? Leave a comment please.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Big Violet Flower!

This is Arctic Frost growing in it's "baby" pot.... the flowers are in some cases fully three inches across.... I can't wait to see if most of the flowers cover the top in a big white puff of flower fabulousness.

Also.... if this plant were hybridized or crossed back with itself, would the flowers still be as large? My guess is that it would produce the majority of young with normal size flowers.... comment on this!