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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee: Save these dates!

    Feb. 17: Perennial Plant Society meets at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. Speaker is Lee Patrick, with Invasive Plant Control, to discuss management techniques for invasive plants and suggestions for native plant alternatives. Refreshments at 6:30, meeting begins at 7 p.m.

    March 5 – 8, 2015: The Nashville Lawn & Garden Show marks its 26th Anniversary as one of Middle Tennessee’s favorite garden events. The theme for the 2015 show is Gardens of Eden, so we can anticipate more than an acre of garden displays showing ways to create your own paradise. The show will be held in the Creative Arts building at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. http://nashvillelawnandgardenshow.com

    March 20 – 22, 2015: The Orchid Society of Middle Tennessee will host the Mid-America Orchid Congress, “Orchids in Rhythm,” at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs in Franklin, TN. The weekend’s agenda will include exhibits, sales and events open to the public. www.orchidsinrhythm.org.

    March 21 – April 26: Cheekwood in Bloom, a six-week festival celebrating spring with garden demonstrations, live music, arts, family activities, entertainment and more at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art. Complete details at www.cheekwood.org.

    April 11: The Middle Tennessee Perennial Plant Society’s annual plant sale is scheduled 9 a.m. – noon (or until the plants sell out) at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. The sale will feature more than 450 varieties of perennials, shrubs, roses, vines and annuals chosen to thrive in Tennessee gardens. A complete list of plants is at www.ppsmt.org (click the “Plant Sale” tab).

    April 25: First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville Herb & Craft Fair, herb seedlings, heirloom tomatoes, handmade specialty items and totes, handmade cards, pressed flower art, natural handmade soaps, hand-knit items, sweet breads and herb breads, spice mixes, teas and herbs. Details will be a www.firstuunashville.org.

    May 16: The Master Gardeners of Davidson County’s 5th annual Urban Gardening Festival at Ellington Agricultural Center. The free community event is designed to educate and engage visitors with garden demonstrations and exhibitors and vendors from throughout the greater Nashville area.

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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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