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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee

    Aug. 18: Perennial Plant Society meeting at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. Speaker is Shera Owen, topic is “People, Plants and their Stories.” Refreshments at 6:30 p.m., meeting at 7 p.m. open to the public. To learn more: http://www.ppsmt.org

    Sept. 6: The Nashville African Violet Club will meet at 2 p.m. at Grace United Methodist Church, 2905 N. Mt. Juliet Rd, Mount Juliet, TN 37122.  For more information, contact Julie at  Julie.mavity@gmail.com or call 615-364-8459.

    Sept. 12 & 13: The Tennessee Gesneriad Society will have a flower show and sale at Cheekwood in Botanic Hall. The event will be open to the public Sept. 12, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Sept. 13 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. To learn more, contact Julie at Julie.mavity@gmail.com or call 615-364-8459.

    Sept. 19: The Herb Society of Nashville's annual Herb Day, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Speakers include floral designer Ralph Null, landscape architect and designer Todd Breyer, and chef and caterer Emily Frith. There will also be a variety of vendors, and The Boomerangs will provide entertainment throughout the day. Admission is $42 per person until Aug. 31; $47 beginning Sept. 1, and includes all workshops, entertainment, and lunch. Advance registration is required. Register at http://herbsocietynashville.org, and visit the Herb Society’s Facebook page for updates.

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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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