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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee

    Jan. 29: Organic Gardening. Discuss topics such as composting, seed starting, planting dates, soil preparation, insects and more with naturalist Deb Beazley, 9 – 10:30 a.m. at Warner Park Nature Center. Call 615-352-6299 to register for this class for ages 13 and up.

    Feb. 6: Birds in the Backyard. Learn about feeders and native landscaping that will attract birds to your garden, led by Vera Vollbrecht, 11 a.m. – noon at Warner Park Nature Center.  Call 615-352-6299 to register for this all-ages class.

    Feb. 12: Planting the seed. Vegetables have begun sprouting in the greenhouse. Naturalist Heather Gallagher leads a class about gardening in winter or age 3 – 5, 10 – 11 a.m. or 1 – 2 p.m. at Warner Park Nature Center. Call 615-352-6299 to register.

    March 3 - 6: Nashville Lawn & Garden Show, live gardens, free lectures, demonstrations, vendor marketplace, floral design gallery at the Fairgrounds Nashville. Information at www.nashvillelawnandgardenshow.com.

    March 18-19: The Garden Party, garden lectures, vendor booths, demonstration, floral arrangements, exhibit of garden and nature-relate art, Friday and Saturday, with a family-friendly garden party event Friday evening, 7 – 11 p.m. featuring music by the band Dixiana, food and non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase. The event will be at the Lane Agri-Park Community Center, 315 John R. Rice Blvd. in Murfreesboro. Tickets are $6 for the daytime event, tickets for the Friday night event are $8; children 13 and under admitted free with a paying adult ticket. To learn more: www.BoroGardenParty.com and www.facebook.com/BoroGardenParty.

    April 9: Perennial Plant Society sale -- one of Nashville's top gardening events hosted by the Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee. More than 450 varieties of shrubs, roses, vines, perennials and annuals, plus garden experts on hand to offer advice. Sale at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds opens at 9 a.m. - noon or until plants run out (arrive early!).

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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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