1/6/11

Her green thumb is reaching MIGHTY far...



My mother loved African violets.


She had a knack, people would say; a green thumb when it came to plants. She loved lily of the valley, wildflowers, tulips, daffodils, roses, daisies, Christmas cactuses; you name it and she could grow it.


We all knew that she had a special place in her heart for her violets.


I’m sure this was a bit frustrating for someone who was married to a member of the US Navy. We moved, and we moved often; but she always managed to move her florescent light and many of the plants she had collected and nurtured over the years.


On the other hand, I am incredibly happy in my garden only between the months of April and August. I live for the moment when my perennials peek their heads out of the earth, searching for those first rays of sun that will breathe life back into them. I enjoy the smell of dirt and the way my hands feel as I rip the weeds out of the garden. I know each and every plant that is scattered around the many gardens I’ve expanded, and smile in surprise as “volunteers” sprout up unexpectedly.


I have never, ever had any luck with African Violets.


That doesn’t mean I don’t try. Over the years I’ve sacrificed at least ten that were given to my by unsuspecting students and friends who were unaware of my talent for murdering violets.


I’ve had one for at least five years, a gift from a student who knew I loved flowers but apparently didn’t catch the “outdoor” part of my obsession.


It has lived, despite my best, great efforts to kill it. It hasn’t bloomed since the time I brought it home from school after our year-end celebration in 2007.


Guess what? It’s been blooming since I moved into this house, for 41 days to be exact.




I think I might have a roommate after all. One who is very good at nurturing African violets.




And her children.



32 comments:

Laura said...

Wow. It sounds (& looks) like a message. I love it when they're so clear.
Maybe soon I'll have to try the Christmas cactus from my Grandma again...

a Broad said...

Awww.. how sweet and touching !
I agree with Laura .. a message .. signs.. whatever the reason , enjoy the beautiful violet.
I am in that category of people who do well with plants but the flower part is difficult . . When we lived in Portland, my plants all grew well out on the terrace. The things I brought inside, just wished there were outside and pined away ..
We won't discuss the bamboo. I named it. It is happily growing h u g e on a friends terrace in Oregon .. where everything seems to be happy and green .. (Plants, not people )

Anonymous said...

As I live in Alaska, I expect to not be great with indoor plants. Surprisingly a few keep coming back.

rach said...

I too have a black widows touch with indoor house plants. I bring them home with so much hope and joy and sadly, slowly they go to plant heaven. (sometimes not so slowly, but they all end up in the same place in the end.) So kudos on the violet- I know how hard they are to keep alive. My grandmother has that same special knack with them and has the same plant alive on her windowsill in the kitchen for about the last decade. It nice the way the small and simple things have such a impact on how we feel.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

What is the secret??
Is it violet food? Ultra-violet light? I can't seem to keep African violets either.

Yours is beautiful.

ChiTown Girl said...

Wow. Apparently Mom is giving her stamp of approval to the recent changes. :)

Scope said...

So, you say things are blooming in the new place.

The Nice One said...

Awww! I love African Violets. I am sort of a house plant geek. I've moved mine across the country (USAIR wasn't so sure about me flying my violets...but they did!). Violets are my favorites. The trick with them is all about the light. They need JUST the right amount.
Oh, and for some reason, they prefer their water from the bottom (hence violet pots).

Vodka Logic said...

It all means good luck for you.

I never had luck with violets either until my daughter brought home a leaf she stuck in the soil of a cup. The leaf died so I was about to throw it out but behold under the leaf was a million baby leaves. It has been growing and blooming ever since. She brought this leaf home in 3rd grade she is now a Jr in high school. xx

Elaine said...

There could be no better roommate than an angel.

Little J said...

Isn't it funny how plants and animals (and children) respond to the changes in our mood and feelings in our heart, even when we think we're doing an amazing job of hiding it...

Kate said...

She knows you need her.

Brian Miller said...

smiles. not a bad roommate to have at all...

yogurt said...

Wait, you moved? And you have a roommate? I've never attempted African Violets. Maybe because I've never seen anyone who grew them successfully. Yours looks divine.

duffylou said...

Beautiful blooms for a new start in the new year. How wonderful it must feel to know she is with you.

WebSavvyMom said...

-->Buy a second one and put it right next to this one. They give off plant pheromes (or whatever you call them) and it makes them stronger and healthier plants. Also, when you water, let the water run through the plant and not pool at the bottom.
I'm typing this with my two green thumbs. ;-)
deb
www.websavvymom.com

Joanie said...

It's the calmer, happier vibe in this house.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Aside from my children - I don't nurture anything live in my house. But I do love your pretty flowers. I love it that beauty often finds you just when you need it.

Sandee said...

You must have placed it in just the right spot. They like to be facing east to get the morning sun. You must have done that without knowing.

Have a terrific day. :)

Life After Grad School said...

My grandparents routinely murder house plants (they don't mean to, their house is so hot and dry but you can't convince them to water 2x a day). So they were shocked when my cousin's girlfriend gave them a violet plant for Christmas and they kept it alive. It was a beautiful plant that was always in bloom. Over the past 3 years, they have faithfully cared for it and the flowers have slowly changed color from violet to white. Yes, I said changed color. You see, my cousin's girlfriend gave them a SILK violet- and we've all just kept our mouths shut because they take such joy in keeping 1 plant alive!

Joanna Jenkins said...

What a nice surprise and it's beautiful.
Enjoy! xo jj

Wunderwoman said...

I think you have an Angel of a roommate! I wish I had my own here, I could really use my Mom's presence lately!

Suzy said...

My mom loves African Violets too. And she has quite the knack for growing them. I've never even tried.

Love that they've decided to bloom in your new life. If that doesn't speak volumes I don't know what does.

Right Mom?

Pastor Sharon said...

It's amazing the things that begin to bloom when we are given the freedom to just "BE" who we are created to "BE".

What a gift that you are blooming just as the African Violet who has been dormant for soooo long just waiting for "FREEDOM" to bloom.

I believe your "roommate" is there to show you that!

The Green Family said...

Wow, what a powerful message! So nice when those appear just when you seem to need them the most. Mothers have a way of doing that, from all sorts of places Ü

jessica said...

chills and tears :) such a beautiful story thank you for sharing.

Cora said...

Dang it, you just made me cry.

Kyddryn said...

I recently had occasaion to remark "Once Mommy, always moomy - it's not over until you die...and even then, I'm not so sure the job is finished."

I'm glad your flower is blooming, sugar...and the violet, too.

Shade and Sweetwater,
K

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

funny things, those african violets. they like lots on indirect light, water only when needed, and a peaceful home...... (?)

smiles, bee
xoxoxoxooxox

mine is blooming too! ps

Janet said...

Very sweet. My mom grows great African Violets, too. People give them to her to bring back to life, and she does. I can kill anything. Even a cactus. I'm amazed my cats and kid are still alive. Nice blog, I'll be back.

slouchy said...

aww...

Jun Kitatani said...

Beautiful!!