Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ordering Leaves the New Way!

I have been ordering leaves from the commercial growers since the early 80's. When I received the African Violet magazine I would send post cards to the businesses that advertised requesting their catalogues. Upon their arrival I would look over the lists of plants and spend hours and hours imaging what the flowers looked like. Finally, I would make a final decision and then I'd send in my order only to have it be shipped to me in May when it warmed up enough for them to send the plants without harming the leaves.

Yes, times have changed since then with the internet. Now days I go online, make my decisions, order them using a credit card and have them shipped Federal Express!

I believe I am getting plants that I'll like since I can see the pictures of the flowers. Although, sometimes my vision was not quite what it should have been. Quite often the commercial vendors will have pictures of the plants listed for sale. If they don't have a picture, I'll look in First Class and at other commercial vendor's listings. Hopefully, a picture of the foliage will also be shown because not only is the flower important, but so is the foliage. I particularly like plants with shiny dark leaves, which are large growing and have a contrast between the leaves and flowers, especially the variegated ones.

I also like them registered by the AVSA since it is my belief that registered plants are the best of the hybirdizer's "crop". Also, I like to enter in the Registered classes of our shows and it is required that the violets be registered.

However, if I like the plants from a particular hybridizer and if someone has them for sale and they aren't registered, I'll still order them. Sometimes they won't get around to registering them till later, and then I wished I had ordered them. Sometimes they are just not a good show plant!

I find it fun to grow a plant from a leaf into a beautiful show plant. There is less chance of having diseases or bugs and the growth pattern stays consistent since the plant has not had a change of environment or soil while it was growing to maturity.

Another reason I switched from the old style-ordering with all the waiting for the leaves to be delivered months later to the rather "instant" online ordering is that there are less substitutions. And, if I get plants in the winter months, they always seem larger than ones mailed in the spring. It also keeps me busy during our long winters although I actually miss the anticipation of a box or catalog arriving unexpectedly. Of course, there is a slight difference in the shipping costs when cold-weather ordering but I think the benefits outweigh the expenses. Besides, I bet the postcards cost more now too!

Thanks to Sharon Johnson for this article!

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