Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Here Come the Russians!!!

I became interested in the violets from Russia when I heard Vladimir Kalgin gave a presentation at the AVSA National convention in Tucson AZ. He showed pictures of people selling violets outside on benches by a street. It looked like there was snow on the ground. Everyone was wearing heavy coats and hats. He also showed pictures of meetings inside houses and some were wearing jackets and everyone was wearing heavy sweaters! The rooms were obviously cold. Vladimir brought a whole bunch of leaves to the convention, which were sold at the auction. It was real exciting that he was so generous to bring us their hybridized leaves and give us an opportunity to grow their plants.

The plants looked lovely in the pictures but they must be very hardy to survive in such an environment. How can those plants survive in cool temperatures since we have been told the ideal temperatures are 65 to 75 degrees? Can we grow them in our warm houses? Would they be better, or would they be so acclimated to a cooler environment that they would not grow well in our warmth? I do not know any of the answers, but I went ahead and bought some of the plants when they became available just to see how they grew. I have a beautiful one right now that is 21” in diameter with beautiful symmetry, and beautiful flowers. I am impressed!

At the MN convention I encountered a lady that was originally from Russia, now living in Florida, and she kindly sent me some leaves. I am now starting to grow them and I am quite pleased with the foliage and the flowers. I will be selling some of the babies at our show at Northtown, March 30, 31st. Collection to receive $ 300 at National conventions. Hmm…sorta makes me want to grow them! If you would like to see some of the photos of the plants, go to the AVSA home page, then go to Photographs, then go to Explore the Russian Varieties. You will see there are 4 different hybridizers. All the plants listed have photos.

Time will really tell how they do in our warm houses but right now I have well over 100 babies and I cannot see any difference from the Russian violets from any others that I have and I am truly excited watching them grow, hopefully, into a REAL WINNER!

Thanks to Sharon Johnson for the article and picture!

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