Phase two is behind schedule. After a dreary summer in the growing room, caring for all the bloom-less plants, I finally let up on them when the shipping season ended, allowing them to come into their long overdue glory. The abundance of colorful blooms detracts my eyes from the pathetic little palm trees the plants have become, so I find it a bit disheartening to strip them all down and begin again just yet.
I've grown to respect those people who grow these plants for others, whether it be for exhibition in shows, resale or leaf harvesting, because all of those reasons require disbudding to a certain extent. A.K.A. life without flowers. And that's why we grow them to begin with, isn't it? How many violet growers will indefinitely baby along a plant that never, ever shares its colorful side? It's a selfless act, removing flowers that will brighten our own days, our own rooms and homes, only so that someone else may benefit later. At times like this, I sometimes question my choice to keep the plants disbudded, because certainly it would be possible to simply allow them to bloom whenever they chose, harvesting only the leaves absolutely needed.
But, this is the rub with vending. We have to supply as much as we possibly can to make any of this worth our time and expense. Violets bloom, but usually at the expense of prime and abundant foliage. Show plants take an incredible amount of time to coax into perfection. We see the end result--lovely plants with their shiny, healthy (and multiple rows of) leaves, laying the foundation for a perfect topknot of blooms, and we sometimes forget that most plants don't look that way all the time. For at least part of the time, either the leaves are flawed or there are no blooms. Some fortunate souls can have it both ways all the time, and I admit to having a few plants that always look stunning. But, at least for me, it isn't the norm. Perhaps I haven't found the perfect combination of environmental and chemical factors to attain such a thing, but I'll keep trying. In the meantime, I'll put off Phase two another week or so and snap some more pics.