Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ever Root an African Violet?

Friday night we hit up a friend to stay with Ike while DH and I did a few shops and stopped for a bite to eat.  I NEEDED to stop at Michael's to pick up some worsted weight wool yarn......only $3 per 200m ball (who could blame me) and to pick up some new colour of size 3 crochet thread for an up coming swap-bot project.  But I digress......my point to share with you is that while stopping at a home reno store, I made a quick stop in the gardening section.  I wanted to see if they had any gloxinias.   (They did not:)  I have not had a gloxinia in over 10 years, but it is a plant that reminds me so very much of my gramma K and I have been feeling the want for one lately.  That's my gramma's farm in the photo above.  Her farm house was filled with plants....when Gramma died, I can even remember some of my cousins while carrying her coffin commenting on how heavy it was and wondering if she had taken all her plants with her.  I totally smile when I think of that comment as she would have loved to take them with her......I'm certain of it.  Gramma loved flowers and there are a few that stand in my memory of her as being  the flowers that defined her.  She loved white flowers and would be drawn to them over other more colourful varieties.  Gloxinias, African violets, ferns, and Christmas cactus is what I remember most about her indoor flowers, and for the outside there were lilacs, peonies, Iceland poppies, Daffodils, Dahlias, Flocs and Sweet Williams. When I was little (and even now) I thought gramma's flower garden was the most beautiful place on earth.  Gramma's farm was filled with lilac bush tunnels, jungles of rhubarb, an interesting huge rain water tank (very fun for paper boats), rows of raspberries, forests of Saskatoons, tempting haylofts sometimes bounding with kittens, implement sheds filled with even then antique farm equipment, and beautiful flowering crabs just bursting with over 50 years of growth.
Well Friday night while in the garden section looking for a gloxinia....I did something that my gramma had done a thousand times.  Don't tell anyone, but I pinched a leaf from an African Violet for a little rooting experiment.  Gramma used to do this all the time.  I remember taking her grocery shopping when she no longer drove her car, and being so embarrassed when she would spot a violet or other plant that tempted her.  She would pick it up and comment on how beautiful or unusual the shade or colour was (and how expensive it was)....then she would quickly pinch a leaf from the bottom and carefully wrap it's stem in a wet tissue and place it in a plastic bag to take home to root.  All the while commenting on how this one little leaf would never be  missed and how it was actually good for the plant.  Then she would take it home and let it set in her window in a small glass or jelly jar of water.....patiently waiting for it to root.  When it did root she would plant it in soil and up onto the window sill it would go in a little pot with a margarine container lid or a jar lid underneath.
 Well my little leaf made it home Friday night and after a rough night of the cat swatting it out of its water drink.....I rescued it this morning and replaced the water that Ginger had drank.  It now sits under a protective cat proof glass on my window sill waiting to root.  So this is a tribute experiment to you Gramma:)....let's hope I don't go to jail!
Anyone know how long this should take?  I have no idea what I'm doing here.


Felicity said...

The farm looks so beautiful and relaxing and your grandma sounds like fun!!

LittleRed said...

Gramma's farm has always been one of my favourite places:) There was always so much to 'get into' there, and yes she was a very interesting person as well.

Crystal said...

This is too funny! My dear little grandmother would do exactly the same thing - pinch a leaf while shopping!!! I remember being a little nervous as a kid that a store clerk would grab her by the arm and take her to the office! lol

Nana loved all plants and like your grandmother, she was sensitive to the cost of things. She loved african violets (and many others) and had such a green thumb! As I recall, it took weeks for the little roots to grow big enough for the leaf to be transferred to a pot of soil, though these days they have special rooting soil that might allow you to do it right away. I'll bet an internet search would tell you for sure.

Warmest wishes,
Crystal :-)

LittleRed said...

Hi Crystal! Thanks for stopping by:) I too remember feeling like we might get pulled into the room with the one way glass.....but it never bothered gramma:)

Kate/Massachusetts said...

I have had great success rooting the leaf by just dipping the end in rooting hormone and planting the stem directly into the soil. Don't overwater or it will rot. Good luck!

LittleRed said...

Thanks Kate..
I have googled propagation of African Violets and see some instruction for planting in soil and also for trying to root in water. I'm giving the water method a go, but am starting to wonder if the tap water here is chlorinated, if it needs to sit a while before using it or if this poor little leaf has a chance. I guess I'll figure it out eventually. If this doesn't work, I'll try it again in soil next time! Thanks for the tips, and I'll try my best:)

Bee said...

Hi Little Red,

Yes, my Great Granny used to 'slip' cuttings of plants when we used to take her out to country estate houses for an afternoon. She would come home with a variety and try to do the same in a jam jar or yogurt pot. My Dad said he asked her what they were one day, and she said 'I don't know, we'll see when they grow'. She had a beautiful cottage garden and I remember it well. So far, I have spring bulbs just poking through the soil after the cold winter which puts a smile on my face as I know Spring is on its way.

Bee x

LittleRed said...

Hello Bee:)
Isn't it funny how other grandmothers did the same type of things. Thanks for stopping by......I can't wait for it to root now:) It's like reliving a little piece of history!