Meetings and Contact

The Vancouver African Violet & Gesneriad Society meets between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. on the third Sunday (unless otherwise posted) of January, February, March, April, June, September, October and November. Meetings are held in the Cedar Room of VanDusen Botanical Garden, 37th Ave. & Oak St, Vancouver.

For more information contact

Monday, 24 August 2015

A new club year begins!

Saintpaulia "Morgan's Chutney Popcorn"

The first general meeting of the Vancouver African Violet & Gesneriad Society's 2015-16 club year will be held on Sunday, September 20 in the Cedar Room at VanDusen Botanical Garden.  General meetings are hold on the third Sunday of September, October, November, January, February, March, and April; the June meeting is held on the second Sunday of June.  Meetings usually begin at 2:00 p.m., except for the November and June meetings which begin at noon.  Our Annual Show and Plant Sale is held on the first or second Sunday of May - watch this blog for notices of it and other VAVGS activities.
VAVGS is an excellent way to meet others with a similar interest in growing African violets and their many related plants - the gesneriads.  Most gesneriads don't look anything like African violets but all have similar growing habits and are easy to keep happy inside our homes.  Expect to be surprised at the variety - even African violets don't look like your Grandmother's did!!!  See the photo above of an unusual-looking African violet called "Morgan's Chutney Popcorn". Wow  - fluffy purple flowers with green edges!   This beauty, grown by one of our members, won blue ribbons at our local show in May and also at an international show in San Francisco this summer.
General meetings of VAVGS consist of a short business portion, an educational topic related to gesneriad culture, a show/tell/ask session and a raffle of plant material - usually starter plants, leaves, cuttings, rhizomes or tubers, all donated by our club members.  Many kinds of gesneriads are available in these raffles and most are ones you won't find in plant stores or nurseries around here!  New members may wonder why there aren't more mature plants in the raffle.  Anyone who's grown African violets or other gesneriads knows how easy it is to get lots of young plants from leaves and cuttings.  While club members will want to keep their big mature plants to enter into the competition at our May show, we always have plenty of young plants from our propagation efforts to share. At first, taking home a leaf, cutting or small plant may not seem as exciting as a huge blooming specimen but young plants are better able to adjust to a new growing environment than a mature one that's been moved out of its happy home.  Plus, with the knowledge that you gain from being a club member, you'll soon be able to turn that small plant, leaf, cutting, rhizome or tuber into a large beauty and know that you've done it all yourself!
Come join us to learn from, share with, and socialize with other gesneriad fans and take home a few of those promising little raffle items!

Sunday, 10 May 2015

2015 Show Report

The Vancouver African Violet & Gesneriad Society held its show and sale on Saturday, May 2, 2015 in the Floral Hall of VanDusen Botanical Garden. The Society opened its first show to the public in 1960 and, excluding the 2010 GS Convention Show, this year's event marks our 54th show and sale since that time. The Show was comprised of 105 exhibits entered by 11 exhibitors.  Almost half of Society members entered and staged exhibits for competition.  Entries and member participation in this year's show reached a record high.
Competition included the following entries: 78 horticultural exhibits, 1 education display, 9 artistic designs, 3 hobby exhibits, 5 novice-grown plants, and 9 project plants.
In addition to the Society's annual awards, all of the PNJC Awards were won at this year's show.  In the horticultural divisions, Iain James won the Award of Merit (Gold Rosette) for Horticultural and Botanical Excellence with Sinningia 'Peridots Creamsicle'.  Lori Barrington entered the winning collection for the Pink Rosette (three saintpaulias); Arleen Dewell won the Green Rosette for three exhibits representing three separate genera, and Iain James won the Blue Rosette (three plants representing one genus).  In the Educational Division, Lori Barrington won the Turquoise Rosette, while in the Artistic Design Division, John Wrightson won the Lavender Rosette for Artistic Excellence.
The horticultural divisions of the Show contained 51 Old World gesneriad exhibits (including 32 saintpaulia), and 27 New World gesneriad exhibits while entries for the PNJC collection rosettes included 4 entries in both the Blue Rosette (One Genus) and the Green Rosette (Three Genera) classes and 2 entries competing for the Pink Rosette (Saintpaulia).
The artistic design division of the Show included 9 entries: 6 artistic designs, 1 artistic planting, and 2 dish gardens.  The hobby or handicraft division contained 3 exhibits including an outstanding display of handcrafted antique-style greeting cards by Marianne Moore.  The novice division included 5 superb entries by our first-time exhibitor Sherry Chao.
There were 9 exhibits entered in the Project Plant Section of the show: 4 Saintpaulia brevipilosa and 5 Streptocarpus 'Touch O'Lemon'.  Jessica Lo won Best Project Plant in Show with Streptocarpus 'Touch O'Lemon' while Arleen Dewell won Second-best Project Plant with Saintpaulia brevipilosa.
All exhibitors won blue ribbons for their exhibits.  These included Lori Barrington, Ken Li, John Wrightson, Joyce Carter, Richard May, Marianne Moore, Bill Price, Arleen Dewell, Iain James, Sherry Chao and Jessica Lo.
Early returns from the sale portion of our annual event indicate that not only was our show a great success but also our plant sale ..... well done!

Thanks to everyone who made this event such a success!
Award of Merit (PNJC Gold Rosette)         Sinningia 'Peridots Creamsicle'                 Iain James
Best Saintpaulia in Show                            'Morgan's Chutney Popcorn'                      Lori Barrington
2nd Best Saintpaulia in Show                     'Sundown Trail'                                          Bill Price
Best Saintpaulia Collection in Show           'Morgan's Chutney Popcorn'                     Lori Barrington
   (PNJC Pink Rosette)                                'Rob's Ooey Gooey'
                                                                    'Rob's Outer Orbit'
Best Old World Gesneriad in Show            Primulina ophiopogoides                          Bill Price
2nd Best Old World Gesneriad in Show     Primulina yungfuensis                              Bill Price
Best New World Gesneriad in Show          Sinningia 'Peridots Pink Pipettes'              Iain James
2nd Best New World Gesneriad in Show   Sinningia 'Peridots Creamsicle'                 Iain James
Best Gesneriad Collection in Show             Sinningia 'Peridots Pink Pipettes'             Iain James
   (PNJC Blue Rosette)                                 Sinningia 'Peridots Cotton Candy'          
                                                                     Sinningia 'Peridots Creamsicle'
Best Gesneriad Collection in Show             Sinningia 'Peridots Silver Fox'                 Arleen Dewell
   (PNJC Green Rosette)                               Primulina repanda var guilinensis
                                                                      Pearcea sprucei 'Ecuador'
Best Artistic Design in Show                       Artistic Planting                                       John Wrightson
2nd Best Artistic Design in Show                Dish Garden                                             John Wrightson
Artistic Excellence in Design                                                                                        John Wrightson
   (PNJC Lavender Rosette)
Best Education Exhibit in Show                 'Natural Habitat of S. brevipilosa'             Lori Barrington
   (PNJC Turquoise Rosette)
Best Hobby/Handicraft in Show                 Antique-style Greeting Cards                    Marianne Moore
2nd Best Hobby/Handicraft in Show          Single Black/white Photo                          Marianne Moore
Best Novice-grown Plant in Show             Sinningia 'Stone's Yulia'                            Sherry Chao
2nd Best Novice-grown Plant in Show        Streptocarpus 'Niagara Falls'                      Sherry Chao
Best Project Plant in Show                         Streptocarpus 'Touch O'Lemon'                  Jessica Lo
2nd Best Project Plant in Show                   Saintpaulia brevipilosa                               Arleen Dewell

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Annual Show and Plant Sale May 2, 2015



VAVGS' Annual Show and Plant Sale will be held in the Floral Hall of VanDusen Gardens, corner of 37th Ave and Oak Street in Vancouver on Sunday, May 2.   The event is open to the public from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and admission is free. Only once a year, at this Show, will you see and be able to purchase such an array of African Violets and other related gesneriads.   Drop in and see these beautiful and easy-to-grow houseplants displayed at their best on the show tables.  Young plants, leaves and cuttings will be available, all at unbelievably low prices.  Be sure to arrive early for the best selection from the sales tables.  

Another Excellent SKYPE'd Presentation

Mel Grice (on-screen) and some of the audience

At our last meeting, members enjoyed another interesting and informative presentation via SKYPE.  Mel Grice, a Director of The Gesneriad Society and the African Violet Society of America and winner of countless blue ribbons and Best in Show awards with his artistic designs, presented a talk entitled "The Elements of Design Demystified".  His expert advice and beautiful photographs provided the audience with a great deal of inspiration.  Thanks to Mel, we expect to see many entries in the Artistic Design classes in our upcoming show on May 2.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Dale Martens' Presentation via SKYPE

It was a great honour and pleasure to have Dale Martens, an expert gesneriad grower and hybridizer, present via Skype to VAVGS on January 18, from her home in Illinois.  Most VAVGS members have at least one of Dale's hybridized plant beauties in their collection so are familiar with her creations.  Dale won Best in Show at the 2014 Gesneriad Society Convention with one of her own hybrid streptocarpus,  'Dale's Polar Canary'.  In her presentation, Dale showed members how to grow streptocarpus, sinningias and espicias for exhibition, with plenty of useful growing and propagation tips based on her own extensive experience.    After this successful Skype presentation, a first for VAVGS, we hope to have more experts from around the world present to us using this technology.

VAVGS Members and Dale Martens (on-screen)

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Change of November, 2014 Meeting Date

Due to continued construction in the Administration Building at VanDusen Botanical Garden, the date of the November meeting of the Vancouver African Violet & Gesneriad Society has been changed from Sunday, November 16 to Sunday, November 23. 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

A new year begins at VAVGS!

Welcome to the 2014-15 year at VAVGS!  Our first General Meeting of the year will be held on Sunday, September 21 at 2:00 in the usual location - the Cedar Room at VanDusen.  The educational topic will be "Show and Tell - Growing Good Gesneriads", an introduction to the enormous variety of gesneriads that can be grown and enjoyed.  So much more than just African violets! 

As usual, members of VAVGS did well at the Annual Convention of The Gesneriad Society held in Nashville, Tennessee in July.  See the link at right to highlights from the Convention, including an interview with VAVGS member Arleen Dewell, who won first prize for the best Sinningia - S. speciosa 'Buzios'.

Have a good year!