Spring is Blooming

Spring and Senior Living

The senior apartment building I live in has a large backyard with a variety of different kinds of trees, many I don’t recognize. Just a few weeks ago, everything was bare. I even wondered if some of the trees might be dead. I try to get outside sometime every day for what my late husband Jack called the “fresh air and sunshine treatment.”

Back yard of apartment building

Suddenly one day when I went out, some of the trees had a few leaves on them. The next day they had significantly more leaves, and soon they were fully leafed out. Still, there were bare trees that I was sure wouldn’t ever be green. Then all of a sudden, those bare trees started to fill with leaves. Soon everything was lush and green again.

Wooded area

African Violets

Inside, the African violets on my window ledge are in bloom.

Variegated white & pink African violet

In a previous life, I grew African violets as a hobby. I had a cart about 6′ high, 4′ long, and 1 1/2′ wide. Each of the three tiers held a fiberglass tray covered with a wire grid. On each wire frame sat dozens of African violets in small plastic pots. From a bottom hole in each pot a piece of cotton cord hung down into the tray. I regularly filled the trays with fertilizer-infused water, which was drawn into the plants through the wick.

Above the plants, long fluorescent tubes provided the light to grow the plants and produce blooms. If I were doing this today, I would use LED lights, but everything else would be the same. I belonged to a local African violet club. I learned more about my hobby from speakers and sharing with other growers at monthly meetings and avidly reading the magazine of the national organization.

Supporting a Hobby

Once or twice a year, the club would hold a sale at a nearby shopping mall. Members sold plants that were fully grown and blooming as well as starter plants that were rooted but young and immature. Since African violets can be grown from a single leaf, we sold leaf cuttings / We had carefully removed the leaves from mature plants the morning of the sale so they would be fresh. We wrapped the cut end of the stem in a damp piece of paper towel and sealed the leaf in a plastic bag. Half a century ago, we sold leaves for 50 cents or $1.00.

You can see samples of a few of the infinite varieties of violets on the African Society of America website. There are so many they are separated alphabetically.

The members of our violet club always laughed and said we had to sell some of our plants and leaves in order to support our hobby. We often went home from the sale with no more money and just about as many plants and leaves as we started with. Really, we sometimes did little more than trade plants among ourselves. But we ended up with new varieties and new opportunities to plant leaves and watch plants sprout and grow.

Colorful Seasons

Spring and fall are my favorite seasons because of the variety of colors, the new life in spring, and the harvest in autumn. Spring is beautiful in south central Texas, with the sides of the highways and many fields covered with bluebonnets and other colorful wildflowers. Because it’s hard to get around in my power chair as it doesn’t fit in normal vehicles, I haven’t had the chance to see the wildflowers in several years. But some of my friends have texted me lovely photos. It’s not the same as being there, but certainly better than not seeing the flowers at all. My friend Collette Buchanan sent me the following picture.

Field of bluebonnets with three crosses

I hope you are enjoying spring and spending time outside viewing God’s wonderful creation.

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