Thursday, October 28, 2010

Once upon a time, there was a young girl whose grandmother and mother were constantly putting leaves in tinfoil-topped jelly jars full of water. The girl went to college with a couple of violets (in ceramic violet pots made by her grandmother) to keep in her dorm window. When she came home to visit her parents, she noticed the catalogs and new violets her mother constantly ordered. Together the girl and her mother explored the African violet world of vermiculite, cyclamen mites, variegation, chimeras, support rings, bottom watering, and even the odd seed pod (which the girl's mother plucked off thinking they were something undesirable). The girl's grandmother continued growing perfect violets in any available soil, in clay pots, in direct sunlight, etc.

The girl got married to a man who tried to understand her obsession with dirt and with milk jugs full of pale blue liquids. Cats and dogs roamed through the gesneriad jungle. A tiny girl was added to the household. She cut her teeth looking for thrips and fungus gnats. Another tiny girl was added. And then one day, a gallon of fish emulsion was knocked over in the plant/children nursery, and the once-young girl realized 300-plus African violets and assorted gesneriads was no longer an option.

Then, last week, the no-longer-young girl suddenly felt compelled to order a couple of petrocosmeas, a couple of streptocarpus, and one African violet. Moving to a new house in the midst of homeschooling the tiny girls was not enough chaos. The new house had new windows begging to be filled with plants. The new basement had large areas begging to be filled with artificial lights.

And here I am. Surrounded by boxes and laundry, I sit eating candy corns and beginning a new blog. I want to grow African violets...again.