Sunday, February 04, 2007

Grandma's Violets

How many of you remember what got you interested in African violets? I remember them since I was a very small child. My grandmother had windows full of them. At the time, I thought they came in all sorts of colors, little did I know that currently my grandmother would have been tempted to expand her collection into the thousands.

She had glass shelves across the windows that were in the kitchen. It just so happened that they were perfectly placed to be in the north and east side of the kitchen where she tended them daily. Eventually, there was a 4' plant stand in the basement, but the ones in the windows were the ones that she was most proud of.

Our family is pretty sure that she was one of the rather "original" members of the Minnesota Club... or at least that is what my mother remembers. Since she was living in a rural community, she would jump in a car with other ladies with names like Bessie and Emma and drive to the cities for a meeting. I would be most interested if anyone in the MN club has really old membership registers. I would love to know if this was actually the club that she was in.

My grandmother's one wish (violet-wise) was for a green violet. I joined our club after talking to the nicest lady ever, Retha, who told me how to acquire a green violet. I got one for myself and for my grandma! Grandma thought that was really exciting and ended up showing it to most everyone in that small town (by the sounds of it). My grandma enjoyed her plants till shortly before she died at age 93! I wish that I would have had the opportunity to have one of her original plants, but as you can see from the photos, all faded and at least 22 years old, I still have pictures to keep the memories of all the cookies I ate in that kitchen and the flowers on the shelves fresh in my mind!

How did anyone else get involved in the clubs originally? When did you start to grow violets? Do you have any really old ones? Write in and tell us!


Sharon said...

My mother had shelves like that too against the windows with beautiful violets blooming. She even had them in a north kitchen window.

When the MN club formed a friend of my mothers joined it and begged my mother to join too, but she was too bashful to do such a thing.

I always thought they were so pretty and remember going to a show by the club in the Donaldsons store, downtown Mpls. I was impressed.

When I actually learned how to grow them, I gave her a few tips and sent her leaves.

Thank you for putting the picture with the glass shelves in the blog. It instantly brought back many good memories.

Beth said...

I would like to get ahold of the Vintage violets. Does anyone know who sells them?

NSAVC said...

Depending on what sorts of vintage violets you are looking for the "African Violet" magazine sometimes has people that list them for sale. We'll toss it around and think up more answers for you shortly!

Joan B. said...

Yes, I have a very old violet from my Grandma. She lived in Sandstone, MN and always had violets as long as I can remember. She is the one that showed me how to start from a leaf in water and to separate the crowns to start new plants. She had a huge table which sat in an east window and was used just for her plants. Back in the early 70's she gave me some plants to get started, and I still have one of these! Of course they didn't have names on them, so I call mine "Blue Granny". It is a semidouble medium blue-purple with dark green heavily scalloped, pointed girl foliage. Anybody have ideas on the identity? It would be pre-70s, from mid Minnesota.