About 8 weeks ago, I began to "ready" my African Violet plants for show in our local fair. Having never done anything like this before, I am not experienced in entering plants in the horticulture area of the fair. Heck, I swore that I wasn't going to grow for show when I began this hobby. I changed my mind and considered growing AVs for show in the fair. I knew I had a lot to learn. When I was in Jr. High School I entered 4-H exhibits and that is the extent of my experience with fair entries.
A fellow AV lover talked me into growing for show. I wasn't sure I could make it work at such a late date.
Every single day, sometimes more than once a day, I have been tending to several of my better specimens of plants. I learned too late about a bloom booster which should have been introduced about 10-12 weeks before the event. Mine were introduced to the preperation schedeule only 7 weeks before the event. I didn't know so I couldn't do. For the past nine days, I've been watching multiple clusters of bloom pods beginning to peek out from under the crown leaves on my AV plants. I increased the light exposure to over 13 hours a day in order to quicken the maturation of the blooms. I've been talking to them and tending to them in hopes to coax them along more quickly....realizing every day that I was running out of time. Last night I took another look at the nearly 40 bloom pods on 7 of my plants and I knew for sure that I wasn't going to make it.
The entry for flowers was today from 1-4 PM. None of my AVs are judge ready. Not the first one.
I have 9 different plants who are 3-4 days away from being at full bloom but they are not ready today.
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I was; however, able to enter my Angel Wing Begonia which grew this year like an angel flies - with wings spread wide to the heavens. The spread of my sweetheart is over 42 inches and has only 3 stalks in the pot. Her foliage is just breathtaking. Here's a picture of how she looked a few months ago on July 4th. I don't have a current picture of her. If she wins a ribbon, I'll take a picture of her to share.
She's bigger and more beautiful now. While I was very dissapointed that none of my violets where show worthy at this time, I was so proud of this plant. It was difficult to get my ego back into the car upon leaving after several of the Garden Club members made such a fuss about how beautiful the begonia is/was.
Here's the kicker - I purchased the plant as a 2 leaf small 4 inch pot in the spring from one of the local plant sales here. I put it in a pot and stuck the pot over by our frame for the hot tub. That particular spot got a lot of morning sun and then was shaded for the remainder of the day. The plant loved that spot and all anyone ever did was water her a few times a week and watch her grow. What pleasure she has given me along with numerous visitors who've visited our porch this past summer.
Below is a bloom on one of my Butterfly Bush which keeps blooming over and over and over. Because the Butterfly Bush isn't in a container - it's not qualified to be entered in the fair. I could have done a cutting but why do that and rob myself of watching the butterflies all over the plant? Enjoy.
The good thing? Next week, I'm going to awaken to plants full of blooms and they will be for my very pleasure to enjoy and share here in pictures. Next year, I'll be prepared and on time.