Feb 19, 2018

The Complete Book of African Violets

by Helen van Pelt Wilson

This is an older book about the specific cultivation of african violets as houseplants, written when they were new on the scene and wildly popular. It is easy to read having a friendly style, and quite informative in spite of its age. I learned for example, that foliage isn't necessarily damaged by water contact- only if it is a lot colder in temperature and of course keep it out of the crown. In fact this book recommends regularly rinsing leaves off with light spray, to keep clean of dust. I didn't know that violets could be grown hydroponically, nor that propagation can be taken from the same individual leaf multiple times by restarting each instant the new young plant is cut free of the petiole. The care instructions are very thorough, but I would look for modern methods of pest control. The chemicals and pesticides the author recommends sound downright dangerous. There are chapters explaining how to share plants and leaf cuttings through the mail, how to grow violets commercially in greenhouses, how to conduct judged violet shows, and the difficulties of describing and naming new varieites. Illustrations in linework are quiet nice and have a lovely detailed texture of fuzziness on the leaves. The actual color photographs are amusingly quaint. I'm keeping this one around, and am now perhaps interested in acquiring a few more african violets myself. (I only have two right now, but am awful fond of them).

Rating: 4/5       247 pages, 1951

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

African violets always make me think of my mom - she loves them.