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June 15, 2009

Burbank African Violet Society

My Grandma Walker always had an African Violet houseplant in her home. A couple years ago I caught a sale at the Arboretum specializing in this plant, with hundreds of different varieties. I of course came home with a handful, special pots to plant them in, and special soil mix just for this plant.

Surprisingly, I've been able to keep one of these alive, and it's the one I got at the 99 Cents Only Store. In the photograph at the top, it's the one in the purple glass vase. I think I planted it early in 2006. And though it's lived through two homes and several winters, it's only flowered for me once, when I first got it--until I moved to my current home. My living room now gets a ton of diffuse afternoon sunlight, and the plant soaks it up. It's beautiful, and it makes me think of my grandma with a smile every time it blossoms. Here's what it looks like now:

When I first got into Violets, I was looking online for information about their care, and came across info on the Burbank African Violet Society. Since they were just down the street from me, I decided to check it out. When I went, a gaggle of older ladies with grey hair welcomed me with cookies and juice. They had a table of plant samples and equipment spread out, which turned out to be a monthly silent raffle that supported the refreshments at their meetings. The program that night included their business meeting, and a presentation by one member about a particular species of violet grown in miniature in terrariums. The started out the evening by asking if any new members were present, and all eyes swung towards me--the only young person or unfamiliar face in the room. They made me stand up in front of the room and introduce myself, giving my reason for coming that night. I told them I'd come to learn how to trim my violet, so one member came up to the front of the room with her tiny trimming scissors, and gave a lesson on the spot to the whole group, using the 99¢ store plant I'd brought along! I felt like I'd been adopted by about fifteen more grandmothers. They each encouraged me individually to come back again. I now know where to take all my questions.

The moral of this story is never to be afraid to explore new activities or never know where they might take you, or what sort of interesting people you may meet!

Do you have a great story about meeting interesting strangers? Relate it to me in a comment on the blog!

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