By Beth David, Editor
Christopher Paiva just thought the little plant looked pretty, so he bought it from the supermarket. It bloomed, was “captivating” in its beauty and symmetrical. The purle and white plant was an African Violet, and Mr. Paiva was hooked.
“It just grew and grew and grew and was absolutely beautiful,” he said.
Then he bought a few more, and learned how to make his own plants.
And they grew, too, and they looked pretty good.
“I have this green thumb, I guess,” he said.
Then he went to a couple of shows, and although his plants at home looked just as good as the ones at the show, he hesitated to enter.
“I didn’t have the confidence,” said Mr. Paiva.
Then he thought he’d give a shot. He took his best five plants and fertilized them and babied them and, “they just popped.”
“They bloomed like crazy.”
So he entered a few plants, expecting it to be a learning experience more than anything else, he and his wife Linda agreed.
“I said, ‘yeah, but I’d like to just earn one ribbon.’”
He entered four Buckeye African Violets in the 55th Annual African Violet Show and Plant sale in April, and he won 11 awards.
“I was just shocked. I never expected it,” said Mr. Paiva. “I was looking for one ribbon and got eleven.”
Mr. Paiva said there is a strong community of AV enthusiasts, groups, clubs and websites to help any beginner along. Just beware, he says, about getting started in the first place, because once you get one African Violet, and keep it alive, you will, undoubtedly, want more.
“Now, it’s an obsession,” he admitted, and credited his wife with letting him “dedicate” a bedroom in the house to his obsession. But…
“I could be in the bar,” he said.
Mr. Paiva won a total of 11 awards which included Best Novice, Best AV Standard, Best Class I (three standard AVs in a group) and Best Variegated Leaf AV with Purple tones. He won a total of five blue ribbons, three best in class ribbons, two purple rosettes and one gold rosette for the Best in Show Standard. •••