Say Yes! to African Violets

Speaker Ann Athey (center) with Garden Club Board members (left to right): Erminja Maganja, Janice Brown, Lori Slocum, Barbara Geiser, Lisa Lebsack, and Linda Lilley

Erminja Maganja, Publicity Chair

The Garden Club’s first meeting of 2023 was held on Jan. 16. Club members and guests learned a great deal from our guest speaker, Ann Athey, with the Denton County Master Gardener Association, presenting “Yes! You Can Grow African Violets!” After raising a family and retiring from her nursing career, Ann returned to growing African violets as she had done as a teenager. What started as reviving a few discounted plants from a big-box store turned into a love of growing, nurturing, and showing African violets.

Ms. Athey informed us that African violets are subtropical plants discovered in Tanzania in the late 1800s—two different varieties; one near the coast and the second at 9,000-feet elevation. They quickly became a favorite of indoor plant enthusiasts around the world, as they were colorful and easily propagated by leaf. Most of us likely remember these lush, frilly plants gracing our grandmother’s windowsill. We learned the conditions preferred by African violets: 12 hours of light and, importantly, 8 hours of darkness; indoor temps of 65°F to 78°F; they thrive in soilless potting mixes (combine with perlite at a 60/40 ratio); prefer continuous weak fertilizer; and like to be root bound. Over a dozen lucky meeting participants took home an African violet propagated by Ms. Athey who gifted them as door prizes.

Ms. Athey shared an online resource of 10 Tips to a happy African violet: To learn more, visit the First African Violet Society of Denton (FAVSD) online at FAVSD is co-hosting the African Violet Spring Show and Sale on March 17 and a summer workshop and sale on June 24 (details on their website).

Our next meeting will be held Monday, Feb. 20, at 10:30 a.m. in the clubhouse. Our scheduled speaker is Josh Richards, founder of Fossil Creek Tree Farm & Nursery in North Fort Worth, a family-owned tree farm, nursery, and landscaping service. If you haven’t yet been there, you’re in for a treat!

For questions about the Garden Club, contact Erminja at [email protected] or 916-804-5551.