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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee

    April 4: Wildflower Week at Beaman Park. Tree hike, 10 a.m. - noon; Wild Food display, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.; wildflower hike, 2 - 4 p.m; wildflower photo exhibit reception, 5 - 6:30 p.m.; Full Moon hike, 6 - 8 pm. Beaman Park Nature Center, 5911 Old Hickory Blvd. in Ashland City.

    April 10: Join naturalist Deb Beazley on a Wildflower Walk, 9 a.m. - noon, to enjoy the spring wildflowers in bloom around Warner Park Nature Center. A wildflower walk is also planned for April 15 with Kim Bailey. Call 615-352-6299 to register for these adults-only events.

    April 10-11: Howe Wild Weekend, featuring a cocktail supper April 10 with Amy Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist; box lunch and lecture with Stewart and Wicked Plants April 11, and native plant sale of spring-blooming wildflowers, shrubs, vines and small trees, 9:30 a.m. until all the plants are sold. Sponsored by the Garden Club of Nashville to benefit the Howe Garden at Cheekwood. Details at www.gcnashville.org.

    April 10 – 12: Trails & Trilliums festival at the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly in Monteagle, Tenn. The event includes outdoor family activities and guided hikes, workshops, garden tour, music, art and vendors, and the keynote address by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods. Complete details at www.trailsandtrilliums.org.

    April 11:  Middle Tennessee Perennial Plant Society’s annual plant sale, 9 a.m. – noon (or until the plants sell out) at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. More than 450 varieties of perennials, shrubs, roses, vines and annuals chosen to thrive in Tennessee gardens. Free admission; the Fairgrounds has a $5 parking fee. A complete list of plants is at www.ppsmt.org.

    April 11: Celebrate spring and Japanese culture at the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival. The event begins with a 2.5-mile walk at 9 a.m.; festival opens 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Nashville Public Square with exhibitors, entertainment, artists, food, marketplace. Sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Tennessee. Details at http://nashvillecherryblossomfestival.org/

    April 12: The Tennessee Gesneriad Society will meet at 2 p.m. at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. The program will be a propagation workshop, and all attending will leave with a box of cuttings and information about propagation and care. The program is free and open to the public. Information: email Julie.mavity@gmail.com or call 615-364-8459.

    April 17: Join naturalist John Michael Cassidy for an all-ages Wildflower Hike, 9 – 10:30 a.m. at Shelby Bottoms Nature Center. The leisurely walk to look at wildflowers will be followed by a snack at the Nature Center. Call 615-862-8539 to register.

    April 18: Herb Society of Nashville herb sale, featuring dozens of types of herbs for sale, along with a selection of heirloom tomato, pepper, eggplant and kale plants, handmade pottery herb markers by Roy Overcast, information from The Compost Man, shopping assistants and more. 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Tennessee State Fairgrounds. Free admission; the Fairgrounds has a $5 parking fee. Find a list of plants for sale at www.herbsocietynashville.org.

    April 24: Nashville Tree Foundation’s High Tree Party will honor the winners of this year’s Big Old Tree Contest, highlighting Davidson County’s oldest and largest trees, 4 p.m. at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art. Details at www.nashvilletreefoundation.org.

    April 25: First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville Herb & Craft Fair, selling annual and perennial herbs, heirloom tomato plants and native plants plus handmade craft items, specialty items, handmade pressed flower art and jewelry, natural soaps, yeast breads, spice mixes, jams, jellies and other items. 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., 1808 Woodmont Blvd. Details at www.firstuunashville.org/herbfair.

    May 3: Mid-State Iris Association annual Iris Show, 1:30 - 5 p.m., Franklin Synergy Bank, 1 East College Street, Murfreesboro, TN. Free admission.

    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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