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Thursday, 5 March 2015

Saintpaulia



This week's suggestions are based on the illustrated musical scores of the Violet and Adelaide polkas, but I really have nothing to offer in the way of musical scores or dancing.  I used to enjoy growing Saintpaulia however, commonly known as African Violets. It was fascinating how new baby leaves grew from the cut stems of single leaves suspended in water, which were then planted in soil-free nutrient and nourished by wick-watering and light. At one stage I had at least thirty plants of many vibrant colours and varieties. When we moved from Sydney to Melbourne we transported them carefully down with us and they continued to thrive for a couple of years, but sadly they did not do so well after we moved to our present home. I didn't want to resort to using artificial light, and perhaps the natural light and position was not as good. Gradually I had fewer and fewer healthy plants, until in the end there were none. I hope you enjoy this collage made up of various photos I took of my African Violets in their glory days (2000 - 2007). Sorry for the lack of sepia photos this week, but I think you'll agree, they would rather miss the point, and purple was always my favourite colour!



Here's a photo of my main indoor plant these days. It's an umbrella plant, and was given to us by my late sister-in-law as a house-warming present when we built our first home in Canberra in 1977. 38 years and 5 house moves later, it is a real survivor. It is constantly putting out new shoots and could do with another pruning shortly. No flowers, but it always looks green and calming.  I must put away that discarded little white African Violet pot outside on the deck. Gone but not forgotten!





You can find other more sepia toned interpretations of this week's theme here at





16 comments:

  1. Oh I'm jealous...all I can grow on my African Violet is leaves! Actually I'm glad it's still alive!

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    1. Yes, better than than mine now. You can get a special AV nutient that you add to the water to encourage flower growth.

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  2. A clever application of the theme. I used to grow African Violets as did my grand mother. I gave mine away before i moved and you have inspired me to start thinking about them again.

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  3. I've just managed to kill an orchid thingie I was given for Christnas. Definitely no green thumbs on my hands. Those African Violets look beautiful. I wonder how I would go with them.

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  4. Hmmm, they are rather temperamental plants and sensitive to their environment, as my tale shows.

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  5. Aww this is making me miss my grandmother today. She always had violets. Those velvety leaves and sweet blooms brightened any room.

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  6. I love purple too. Your plants were beautiful and well suted to the theme.

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  7. I am a lover of all things purple, too. Your varieties are amazing! I learned about the leaf-in-water propagation method back in the 80's. It worked for a while. I probably just didn't have enough patience. But I've often considered giving it another try (since my mother and sister were both named, "Violet" and purple being my favorite color). Now you've inspired me to try again. And don't worry about the photos not being sepia-toned. I read on the "About" page or somewhere that it's not really a requirement. Only that the images are old.

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  8. Beautiful blooms Jo, and I too have a couple of (variegated) umbrella plants. People use them for hedging here in Lanzarote.

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  9. You certainly have a green thumb! Your African Violets are beautiful, & a perfect play on the theme prompt. I've had a plant - variously called Snake, Sword, or Mother-in-law's Tongue - for at least 20 years. It bloomed once when I'd had it for 10 years, but never since. It's in a tiny pot & I feel bad about that. I've tried 3 times to carefully transplant it into a bigger pot & each time it has almost died. So now I just give it plant food once in a while, water it occasionally, & sing to it every day & it seems to be thriving. The singing, of course, is simply providing it with extra CO2. But who knows? Maybe it enjoys hearing music???

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  10. How beautiful those violets are. I never had any luck with them at all.

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  11. Yes the beauty of the colours would be lost in sepia. We are always willing to forego sepia if it means we get beauty.

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  12. My mother grew African Violets - dozens of them. She always little jars of orphaned leaves rooting on the kitchen windowsill. I never particularly liked them, but after she died, I inherited them all for some reason. They did not thrive in my west facing living room (I think they missed that northern light).

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  13. That is a shame. Mine suffered the same fate in the end of course. Maybe you were even named after the species. They are pretty when they like their environment, but I expect I did not give them enough care and attention.

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  14. Well of course one can't show these off with sepia photos, extremely lovely views, so welcomed right now too!

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  15. They were beautiful African Violets. I have tried to grow them more than once and always fail.

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