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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee

    Every Thursday in July is “Family Night Out” at the gardens at Cheekwood. Bring a blanket and picnic dinner, and enjoy magic shows, puppet shows, live music and more, beginning at 6:30 p.m. July 3, Magic of America Magic Show; July 10, Dennis Scott: Kids Show; July 17, Nashville Puppet Truck presents The Frog Prince; July 24, Nashville Ballet, Degas and the Little Dancer; July 31, Mr. Greg’s Musical Madness. Find the complete schedule at www.cheekwood.org.

    Now - Sept. 7: Andy Warhol’s Flowers exhibit opens at Cheekwood. Nearly a dozen screen prints from the artist’s original Flowers series, paintings, studio photographs and more. Information: www.cheekwood.org.

    July 15: Perennial Plant Society meets at Cheekwood in Botanic Hall. Speaker is Nancy Murphy of the BellGarden at BellevueMiddle School; the topic is soil structure and fertility. Refreshments and plant swap at 6:30, the meeting begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the public. www.ppsmt.org.

    July 24: Warner Park Nature Center presents “Butterflies of Tennessee” with author Rita Venable, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 615-352-6299 to register for this adults-only class.

    July 26: Mid-State Iris Club’s annual iris rhizome sale, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. (or until sold out) at Martin’s Home & Garden, 1020 NW Broad Street in Murfreesboro. All rhizomes marked with variety name, color and price, and prices range from $5 - $15.

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Keep African violets blooming

QUESTION: My African violets were blooming beautifully when I got them a few months ago, but no longer. How can I get them to bloom again?

It’s easy to love those dainty clusters of blossoms rising from rosettes of downy leaves. African violets look like they’d be fussy plants, but quite the opposite: “They’re easy to grow if you know a few secrets,” says Julie Mavity-Hudson of the Nashville African Violet Club.

One of those secrets may surprise you: African violets tend to bloom better when they’re slightly root-bound, so don’t rush to move them to larger pots. They thrive in bright, indirect light and average room temperatures, in soil that is kept slightly moist. “The thing that kills more African violets than anything is overwatering,” Mavity-Hudson says.

Failure to bloom might be because the plant is not getting enough light. In winter, when the light is low, try moving it to a south or west window where the light is brighter, but move it away from the window when the light is more intense. Direct sun will burn the leaves of African violets.

A light feeding of high-phosphorous plant food every few weeks may also help. Houseplant expert Barbara Pleasant (The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual) suggests adding a light pinch of Epsom salts to water to push balky plants into bloom.

To get together with other African violet aficionados, check out the Nashville African Violet Club, which meets the first Sunday of most months,1:45, at the Green Hill Women’s Center,10905 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet. The meetings are open to the public.

 

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