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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee

    May 2: Middle Tennessee Iris Society Show, Ed Jones Auditorium, Ellington Agricultural Center, 440 Hogan Road, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. No charge for admission. The MTIS iris garden at Ellington is also open to visitors. www.middletnirisociety.org.

    May 2: Master Gardeners of Rutherford County 4th annual Plant and Seed Swap. Bring plants to swap with other gardeners in the community. There will also be displays and demonstrations, a silent auction, and Master Gardeners available to answer gardening questions at Lane Agri-Park in Murfreesboro, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. www.mastergardeners-rc.org.

    May 3: Mid-State Iris Association’s annual Iris Show at Franklin Synergy Bank, 1 East College Street in Murfreesboro, 1:30 – 5 p.m. Open to the public with no admission charge.

    May 3: The Nashville African Violet Club will meet at 2 p.m. at Grace United Methodist Church, 2905 N. Mt. Juliet Rd, Mount Juliet. The program will be a propagation workshop. For more information, contact Julie at julie.mavity@gmail.com or 615-364-8459.

    May 9: Middle Tennessee Hosta Society’s annual hosta and companion plant sale, 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the YMCA Maryland Farms in Brentwood. The tentative plant list is available at www.mths-hosta.com.

    May 16: The Master Gardeners of Davidson County’s Urban Gardening Festival, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Demonstration Garden at Ellington Agricultural Center, 5201 Marchant Dr. Garden demonstrations, exhibitors, vendors from throughout the greater Nashville area. https://mgofdc.wildapricot.org

    May 17: The Tennessee Gesneriad Society will meet at Cheekwood in Botanic hall at 2 p.m. Frank Hale will discuss pests of indoor plants.  For more info contact Julie at julie.mavity@gmail.com or 615-364-8459.

    May 19: Perennial Plant Society meeting at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall, refreshments at 6:30 p.m. and meeting begins at 7. Speaker is Linda Lanier of the Memphis Hydrangea Society. The event is open to the public.

    May 23 – 24: Nashville Rose Show, sponsored by the Nashville Rose Society, in Ed Jones Auditorium at Ellington Agricultural Center, 440 Hogan Road. The show will be open for public viewing 1 – 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Seminars on growing roses will be held at 1:30 p.m. each day. The event is free. www.nashvillerosesociety.org.

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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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