Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Finnegan Begin Again

It's been an interesting couple of days, the upshot of which is that for the first time since since the mid 90's, I am gesneriad-free. 

Yes, that's right - there are no African violets in my house.  No streps.  No columneas.  No petrocosmeas.  Everything is gone.

After additional research, I began to believe that the problems my plants were experiencing were not only based in nutrient toxicity, but that there was a possibility of mites.  Even though the plants that I was considering taking to show looked OK, there was no way to be sure, and you just can't take a plant to show that might have a bug issue. 

How did this happen?  Kind of a perfect storm . . . I got an awful lot of plants from many different sources last year - no one ever intentionally sells a plant with bugs, but stuff happens; I cut a few corners and did not isolate as stringently nor for as long as I have in the past; I was trying to grow far more plants than I'm capable of caring for adequately; I was trying to cope with a substantial amount of work stress in the past few months which has been leaving me exhausted and depleted; and I just wasn't paying good enough attention.

I've dealt with mites one other time - nearly all growers do at some point - but I'm not willing to spray for them again.   It's a toxic, time-consuming process that I don't care to repeat.  The expert I consulted really felt it was the nutrient issue, and I wanted it to be that.  I really wanted it to be that - but I just wasn't sure any more, and since I didn't have anything exotic or super-hard to replace, I took the advice I've given to many:  When in Doubt, Throw it Out.

I think this was the Universe's way to get me to pay better attention to how I live my life.  I believe that everything happens for a reason, and - given the events of the past few months - it's quite obvious that I need to slow down and reevaluate my participation level in a number of things.  It is sometimes easier to let something go and begin again rather than attempting to fix something that's ready to be over.  Sort of like throwing good money after bad  :-)

There will be leaves to buy and plants to grow, just not as many.  There will be more posts about violets, never fear.  And there will be more violets in my home - and pretty quickly.  But the landscape for me as a judge has changed dramatically, because I was set to take my third Senior Judges' exam this summer.  The first three Senior Judges' tests are annual, and upon completion of the third, a judge receives their "permanent gold card" and then only has to test again every three years (for 15 years!) until they are eligible for Master Judge.

Taking and passing my third annual test would mean that I would have earned my "permanent gold card."  However, I needed three blue ribbons to be able to take my third test, and I was hoping to get them at National.  Shows are few and far between anymore, so it will be at least a year before I have any show quality plants, and it could be longer before there is a show nearby that I am eligible to enter.  It also means that when my current judging card expires in October, I will not be permitted to judge again until I have met the requirements and taken another test.  It's an enforced break - and I'm sorry I won't be able to judge after this fall for awhile, but all will be well, and I'm not in a hurry.

And in the meantime, the summer is stretching out before me - I'm sure there are some adventures waiting  :-)


Fujiyamamama said...

Oh no! After all your hard work, too!

Iona Sister said...


I hope you're having fun and finding wonderful new plants to take back to the Starting Over House.

I'm looking forward to seeing them in person in November.


A :-) said...

Thanks Joan and T :-) I have new plants now! Stay tuned!