The most unusual gift I ever received came from a little boy in kindergarten.
At the end of the school term, he brought me a beautiful plant pot with a single
leaf. Although I recognized it as an African violet leaf, I had no idea what the
gift meant. I had long loved blooming African violets but always felt they were
better off in someone else’s life.
I put the pot in a spot where I could see it every day so that I could water it as
regularly as possible and was wondering on a daily basis if anything was supposed
to be happening. Because I was always so busy (small kids and a job and it was
before google was in my life, I never researched anything, just waited as patiently
as I could for something.
About six weeks into the process, I noticed some leaves were coming and I was
very excited. I kept up the regular watering and the plant did actually continue to
grow healthily but it didn’t produce any flowers until almost a year later. I can
recall how excited I became when I saw the first really deep purple flower and
how in love I was with the whole process. I began to entertain the idea of having
a small collection (once you start, it’s hard to control) and at one point I had about
20 different African violets in my home. Unfortunately, they do require care and
I have had to limit myself to no more than 10 at a time. But it is a lovely hobby and
very relaxing when I do it properly. My patience was rewarded, something I need
to remind myself of when I impatiently rush other aspects of my life.
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I consider myself an African Violet enthusiast, hoping year after year that I will
actually become an expert by devoting more consistent time to the hobby. My interest
in these colorful, little plants began many years ago when a current love interest
gave me one and said “May this plant bloom and grow as our love does.”
I didn’t realize at the time that his words were to be the kiss of death for the
poor little plant which was neglected by me like our “love” was neglected by him.
Both the plant and the love died suddenly and quickly and it wasn’t until a few
years later that I began to see what a terrible thing it was to have let the poor,
innocent plant bear the brunt of our immaturity. I suppose I didn’t want the plant
to remind me of him but still, I could have given it to someone. Instead it found
itself in the garbage.
A single African Violet leaf was presented to me about 15 years ago by a pre-school
student at the end of the school year. I had no idea how African Violets propagated
but by that point, I was not willing to let any living thing die in my care, so I
watered it regularly. It took a long time before anything happened but eventually it
grew lots of leaves. Finally, after a few years, I could not believe I actually saw
a flower! I was really excited. I think that the reward after so much patience on my
part made me want to have more of these beautiful plants. I began to purchase them on
any outing to the nurseries, often having a dozen or so on display. When I travelled
I was always afraid that they would die, but my husband took very good care of them
and they have been thriving and flowering despite some neglect on my part for many
I just went out to look at them and spent some time removing dead leaves, watering,
admiring the flowers and it hit me that they are very sturdy and that is probably what
I like about them. Although they could refuse to flower, the do so regularly. I really
enjoy this hobby and now that I am saying NO to many things, perhaps I can begin to say
YES to having beautiful, healthy, prize-worthy plants.