As an avid gardener and bird watcher, this is a busy time of year for me – and tough on the violets, too. The warblers are passing through, the maple whirly-birds are sprouting everywhere (and need weeding,) morning glory seeds need to be planted, and the dogs need walking. Add in the multitude of other chores and my part time job, and I’m sometimes uninspired to work on violets.
But I have found the quiet evenings and drizzly days to be perfect for such plant room chores. I can click on the radio and listen to my canary sing along as I groom, pot up leaves or separate overgrown babies. Of course, it’s important to find the time – and not just for the violets, but also for my own sanity and peace of mind.
The chores aside, however, there are other ways to find inspiration from your violets. Here are some of my favorite ideas.
Spending an afternoon photographing your lovely blooms gives you bragging rights and the opportunity to share them on-line with your long-distance violet friends. Print your photos and use them to decorate gifts, fill frames for your plant area, or to make colorful gift tags or greeting cards. There are many possibilities. Seeing and sharing your beautiful blooms will inspire you to give them your best care and share with others.
Peruse on-line violet vendors or search for African violet images. What a perfect way to spend a little downtime, drooling over photos and vendor selections! Finding images from club shows is particularly effective at inspiring you to give your own violets a little love or maybe set a plan to enter one of your favorites in the next show. Last note: don’t disregard international violet websites. These are truly fascinating, even if they are in another language.
Re-read an old copy of the African Violet Magazine. Start with the oldest one you have or can find, because these are usually the most interesting. It’s amazing what I might have missed in an issue from ten years ago, and information that wasn’t relevant to me then might be so now. And for entertainment purposes alone, the ads in really old issues are fun, too. At one time, there might have been as many as 8 or 10 pages of small print vendor ads offering the “latest and greatest.”
Share! Find someone who needs help with their own violets, either on-line or in person. Show someone how to put down a leaf, repot or separate babies. On-line message forums offer lots of opportunities to find a new potential friend who needs a violet mentor. Still can't find anyone? Jot down a quick story about how you got your start in violets and what they mean to you. Email it off to AVSA for possible inclusion in their magazine.
Although not much fun in the short term, there is nothing like cleanliness to help inspire you to pay more attention to your violets, even amid other distractions. Sometimes when my chores are way overdue, I only feel guilty instead of the inspiration and excitement I should be feeling when I check in on the plants. Clean trays and organized shelves will make your plant area much more pleasurable and inviting, and freshly dusted light bulbs will make everything glow.
Enjoy the spring, but don’t forget your violets. In another 7 months, you’ll be glad that you paid them consistent attention throughout the year!