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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee

    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!).www.ppsmt.org.

    April 16: Herb Society of Nashville plant sale, featuring hundreds of garden-ready annual and perennial ornamental and culinary herb plants, along with a new seminar series focusing on ways to use herbs in the garden. 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Fairgrounds Nashville Sports Arena Building. Free admission; the Fairgrounds charges a $5 fee to park.www.herbsocietynashville.org.

    April 30: First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville Herb & Craft Fair 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the church, 1808 Woodmont Blvd. Top-quality herb plants, heirloom tomato plants and a selection of native plants for sale, along with pressed-flower art, cards, jewelry and gifts, handmade scented soaps, homemade sweet and yeast breads, spice mixes, sauces, jams and jellies and other items. Admission is free (https://thefuun.org/herb-craft-fair).

    May 7: Middle Tennessee Hosta Society sale at the Maryland Farms YMCA in Brentwood. Information about the Hosta Society is atwww.mths-hosta.com.

    May 21: Master Gardeners of Davidson County Urban Gardening Festival -- Exhibits, demonstrations, vendors, information sessions, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Demonstration Garden at Ellington Agricultural Center. Admission is free. https://mgofdc.wildapricot.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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