No 15 – December 2014

The Violet Barn newsletter                                   December 2014 – No. 15

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December 16, 2014.
International orders must be placed by this date for shipment week of December 22.  Read ‘news’ at right for more information.

December 20, 2014.
Last day on which we will accept orders for arrival by Christmas.  Conditions apply!  Read ‘news’ at right for more information.

‘Winter shipping’ in effect!
Orders shipped now through April 15 guaranteed when shipped via Express mail only.  At customer’s risk when shipped by Priority mail

Free stuff and how to get it!

Congratulations to Sue Melson for correctly identifying the plant in last month’s ‘What’s this?’ contest (Streptocarpus ‘Bristol’s Nightfall).  Sue wins a free express mail upgrade on a future order.

2015 AVSA Show awards.
Best Robinson collections
1st place: $200
2nd place: $100

Write a review.
Write a review before ordering, good or bad, we’d like to know.  Get a free plant added to order.


To Sandra Skalski for winning Best in Show and best trailer, with‘Rob’s Boolaroo’  (shown above) at the recent MAAVS Show.

Contact us:


mail. POB 9, Naples, NY  14512

phone.  585-374-8592
Monday-Saturday, 12-5 pm ET

Our shop and glasshouse at:
7209 County Road 12
Naples, New York 14512
Open Tuesday-Saturday 12-5 pm

Planning a visit?

We are closed on Christmas and New Year’s days, but are otherwise open throughout the season, and visitors are always welcome.

Accomodations?  Ask about the “Violet House“.  Available for rental to our guests and customers.

Winter at the ‘Violet Barn’

Though it can be miserable outside, winter is our favorite time inside.  No shows and less shipping means that we can work at a more controlled pace.  Our income is less, but the reward is more time to actually grow, observe, and appreciate the plants.  

Most of the plants look their best, too.  Some are seasonal, like the smithiantha shown at top, which put on a spectacular display this time of year.  Many of our hanging gesneriads, likenematanthus, aeschynanthus, and columnea, bloom even more, even with the shorter days.  The cool nights seem to trigger many of them to set buds.  As for the African violets, variegated leaves are even more distinct and blooms are larger and deeper colored. 

The plants grow a bit slower, too, not outpacing our ability to tend to them.  It reminds us of why we first fell in love with the hobby, now profession.  There’s nothing better on a cold, wintry, day.

What’s News:

We attended the Mid-Atlantic AVS Convention Show in mid November.  Though we didn’t enter plants ourselves, a number of our varieties appeared amongst the winners.  The best in show entry is shown at left.  This was a high quality show, with many excellent show specimens.  To view photos of the show, visit our facebook page (click on facebook icon on this newsletter).

Holiday shipping. 

You MUST place your order by no later than midnight December 20, for arrival by December 24.  You must also selectExpress shipping, to ensure timely delivery as well as its safety. That said, we cannot be responsible for extreme weather or USPS system failures that may delay delivery.  We will do our best!  Want to remove all uncertainty?  How about agift certificate?

International orders.

Our next international ship date is the week of December 22.  We will attempt to ship international orders December 26 to avoid the holiday and hope for arrival before January 1.  This may or may not complicate delivery of your order and increase your risk.  Should you want to delay shipment, our next scheduled international ship date would be January 12.

Winter shipping–yes, we do still ship! 

As stated online and in all of our advertising, we will shipanywhere at anytime.  Keep in mind though that it is winter!  Even though it may be warm where many of you live, it may not be for us (or for points in transit).  This means that we can guarantee safe delivery when shipping plants by ‘express’ mail only.  Orders typically arrive to you the day after shipping, and will require a signature upon delivery.  This ensures the safe arrival of your plants, no matter what the weather–here, there, or in between.

Inventory updates:

Growing supplies.  We again have long tweezers!  These can be hard to find and can be very handy.  Terrarium gardeners will find then especially useful. 

Sinningias.  Most of our collection is again listed in stock, including the many miniature varieties, and especially thespeciosa (‘florist gloxinia’) type.  For those who’ve been asking about these, thanks again for your patience.

This month’s question:

I have a question I was hoping you could answer.  I have a violet that has always had white variegation but has recently turned pink.  The plant is seemingly healthy but I was wondering if this is normal?  I have attached a photo so that you can clearly see that the inner leaves are pink and the outer white.

This is entirely normal.  Usually, the “pink” means the backside of the leaf is red, making the white portions of the leaf look pink.  The red backing to the leaves, and pink variegation, is genetic and likely typical of this particular variety.  Further, color and amount of variegation will vary greatly depending upon environment, especially temperature.  Age is important too.  Usually you’ll see more, and more colorful, variegation on newest growth (the inner leaves).  Some varieties with “crown” variegation can change color a number of times as they age, going from white, to yellow, to pink, to beige, all blended with green.

For more information, visit our plant care pages

This month’s tip:

It’s mildew season!  Fall through spring is mildew season for many of us, when that fine, white, powdery (like confectioner’s sugar) stuff seems to appear almost overnight on our plants and blooms. 

Mildew spores are present everywhere, so avoiding contact with them is near impossible.  When conditions are ‘favorable’, you’ll find it appearing you your plants.  Usually, this means cooler nights (a larger drop in temperature from daytime) and still air. To control powdery mildew or, at least, the severity of it, try to provide mildew less inviting environment.  Gently circulate air in the room to equalize temperatues in the room (a small fan set on lowest speed works nicely).  Don’t crowd plants to allow for air movement between them.  To remove the powdery mildew that does appear, a product such as neem oil works well–it’s easy to use, effective, and nontoxic.

Are you an AVSA member?

Consider joining!  Sign up through our website and get a free plant!  For more information, visit



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