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.