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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee

    Now – April 27: Cheekwood in Bloom festival, six weeks of family-friendly activities – garden tours, live music, interactive programs and more – and showcasing 100,000 brilliantly colored tulips set to bloom across the grounds in early April. Complete schedule of activities at cheekwood.org.

    Every Saturday now – May 31: Volunteer to help weed, plant, harvest and care for the Unity in DiversityPeaceGarden, a learning garden on the campus of Scarritt-Bennett designed to cultivate conversations about diversity and sustainability issues, and to foster individual and collective action. 1 – 3 p.m.; bring water, gardening tools and gloves. 1008 19th Ave. So. in Nashville. To learn more about the program, visit www.scarrittbennett.org.

    April 26: The sixth annual Herb & Craft Fair sponsored by First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville. Shop for herb seedlings, heirloom tomatoes and other plants, and a wide selection of handcrafted items: pressed-flower cards, calendars, gift and jewelry items; natural handmade soaps with essential oils and fragrant herbs; Sewn and hand-knit items, sweet breads, herb breads, spice mixes and rubs, herbal vinegars, jams, jellies, chutney and more.

    April 26:MontgomeryCounty Master Gardener Plant Sale, Clarksville Library, 350 Pageant Lane in Clarksville. Hours are 8 – 11:30 a.m. or until sold out.

    May 3: Middle Tennessee Iris Society show at EllingtonAgriculturalCenter’s Ed Jones Auditorium (440 Hogan Rd. in Nashville). Entries admitted 7 a.m. – 10 a.m., judging begins at 10:30 a.m., and the show opens to the public 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. To learn more about MTIS, visit www.middletnirisociety.org.

    May 3: Robertson County Master Gardeners plant sale, 408 North Main Street in Springfield, Tenn., 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. or until all plants are sold. Informational classes will be held throughout the day Details at www.rcmga.org.

    May 10: Middle Tennessee Hosta Society plant sale with more than 300 varieties of hosta, 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Maryland Farms YMCA, 5101 Maryland Way in Brentwood. Details and a plant list available at www.mths-hosta.com.

    May 10: Master Gardeners of DavidsonCounty host a cemetery tour at the historic NashvilleCityCemetery, and 10 – 11:30 a.m. Visitors will see the cemetery with plants that would be found there around 1862, and learn about the lives of some of Nashville’s famous citizens. Free and open to the public. To learn more contact the Metro Historical Commission, 862-7970.

    May 10 – Sunflower Café Spring Market,local farmers, nurseries and artisans offering garden plants and items and handcrafted items. Shop, eat and drink 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. 2834 Azalea Place, Berry Hill, Nashville.

    May 17: Master Gardeners of Davidson County Urban Gardening Festival, featuring exhibitors, artisans, vendors and workshops on a wide range of gardening topics. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the DemonstrationGarden at Ellington Agricultural Center, 5201 Marchant Drive. Admission and parking are free. Details at www.mgofdc.org.

    May 17: Backyard Beekeeping at WarnerParkNatureCenter, an introduction to residential beekeeping led by D’ganit Eldar, Melissa Donahue and NatureCenter volunteers, 9 – 11 a.m. Registration (adults only) opens May 2; call (615) 352-6299 to register.

    May 20: Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee meets at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. Jason Reeves from UT Jackson Extension will speak on reliable garden plants – perennials and annuals, trees and vines -- that will last for years in your garden. Refreshments at 6:30, program begins at 7. Open to the public.

     

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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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