Garden Club welcomes commercial grower

By Olivia Levada Lenoir

Commercial grower Gini McCanne provided Cal Poly Pomona’s Garden Club with advice on growing African violets on Wednesday when she brought more than 20 of her plants to the University Library.

McCanne has 2,000 plans in her Claremont home and has been growing and selling them since 1980. The commercial grower presented three different types of African violets: the standard violet, the miniature violet and the trailing violet.

McCanne first covered tips on how to water violets with room temperature filtered water.

“They want to be damp. They don’t want to be soaking wet; they don’t want to be dried up,” said McCanne.

She also displayed her self-watering pot, a system she developed that allows for only the plant’s stem to access water.

McCanne explained to the club members that violets require a constant feed of fertilizer and suitable lighting. She advised the club members to do a shadow test if the flower is placed in front of a window. It requires someone to place his or her hand between a violet leaf and the window.

“If you can see the shadow, distinct shadow of your finger moving across the leaf, it’s adequate lighting. If I can’t see anything or it’s just a blob, it’s not adequate,” said McCanne.

She addressed the atmosphere required for African violets. According to McCanne, when temperature fluctuates, powdery mildew grows on the violets. As a result, the flowers need to be placed in 60 to 80 percent humidity.

During the event, club members had the opportunity to purchase McCanne’s violets.

“I happen to love house plants and gardening also, and I use to grow a lot of African violets, and so I have a love for them, and I was hoping she might have some little miniature which she does. And so I was excited just to revitalize my interest in those,” said Vicki Jackson, a student government coordinator for Associated Students, Inc.

Jean Gipe, cofounder of the Garden Club and a professor emeritus at CPP’s College of Agriculture, encourages everyone from CPP to get involved with the Garden Club.

“Gardening is something you can do almost your entire lifetime,” said Gipe. “Personally, I think connecting with Mother Nature is very renewing to the spirit and the soul.”

Gini McCanne

Olivia Levada Lenoir / The Poly Post

Gini McCanne

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