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The Saturday Journal: Meet Virginia, Elinor, & Estelle

Meet Virginia.  My friend gave her to me a few years ago.  She was small and didn’t have a name when I first received her as a gift.   I named her later–after a dear Southern church lady. A friend, and she has a window full of violets.  

Now, I have never had any success with African violets–they always just seem to end up in the garbage–poor things.  My friend who gifted me the violet gave me some great advice about this somewhat finicky house plant–advice she learned from her mother-in-law–a woman who had a violet in her family for over 75 years!!

She explained, 'When watering don’t let the water touch the leaves–water the soil only.'

I still doubted I could ever keep this violet alive–water advice and all.  

But Virginia is different from all the other African violets I have had previously–she’s stubborn.  She wants to live and despite all I have done wrong with her care--she's thriving.

I was reading about the care of African violets a couple of years ago–once I grew more confident in the care of Virginia. And the topic of how easy it is to root and propagate violets came up.  Again, I was like….yeah, right.  However, I decided I would at least give it a try. 

And Virginia–she became a Mama and now as of late, a Grandmother.  

Have all of her babies lived? 


Have all of her babies bloomed? 

Yes–in their own ways. 

Here’s how I take a cutting from Virginia–and please, please know I don’t come close to understanding fully what I am doing–

I take one leaf from her base that has a long stem and I cut it in an angle. Then I place the root in root boost powder (and sometimes not, if I don't have any) and gently plant the cutting down into a small pot of soil.  I water the soil and place the new plant in a window facing the morning sun.  And then comes the waiting and the watering. Sometimes it can take up to two months for the stem to take root and another little leaf to pop out of the soil.  

Meet Elinor and Estelle–they are two of Virginia’s oldest–a little over a year old.  And the thing they have in common–neither of them have produced their first bloom--their first flower.  They were propagated at the same time as many others and the others grew with blooms--rich in the dark hue of purple flowers. 

Those that don't produce blooms--science and research tells me it could be too much water–not enough water–not enough sunlight.  But that doesn’t make sense considering, they with the others, received the same amount of water and made their home on the same windowsill–receiving the same amount of sunshine. 

Elinor started sprouting her leaves at the base of her stem around two months old–tiny baby leaves came popping out of her soil. And today she is full of the most beautiful green leaves--one having the shape of a heart.

Estelle, her baby sprouts were birthed different--they grew from the stem on the back side of her leaf.  I texted a picture to my cousin who has a degree in horticulture and asked her if she had ever seen anything such as this.  She said no, not on African violets anyway, however she's seen begonias grow like this.

I showed another friend who I had gifted a cutting and what she said–I hope I'll never forget. She said, ‘That Mama is going to have her babies any way she can.'

Estelle has gone on to sprout many stems and leaves–many more babies from her roots. However, she still carries all those first babies on her back.  And the load is getting heavier as they grow.  And I'm not sure how much longer she'll be able to carry the weight.

And I think about what all these African violets have taught me–the reminders of truths, lessons, and stories that keep unfolding...

I've learned some mothers and grandmothers will carry their children always on their back–especially those with special needs--the carrying and care will live on for a lifetime.

I've learned the world would be a much better place if we could make a conscious effort to better value the need for strong roots and see the willpower and brave actions of others who carry heavy loads--those who live not day by day, but moment by moment. And rather than throw the sharp-jagged knives of judgement their way, we should strive to treat them with empathy--with kindness, and love.

I've learned when we only judge a flower by the blooms it produces, we miss out on the simple and at the same time--massive beauty.

I've learned things aren't always as they seem, sometimes we have to push a little dirt away from the surface.

I've learned patience is hard and giving up is too easy.

I've learned, no matter what--there is hope.

I've learned healing and growth can still come through cracks and cuts and the deepest of scars.

I've learned there will be failures--disappointments--lessons learned, and not every thing we plant will grow as planned.

I've learned Theodore Roosevelt was right, "comparison is the theft of joy"

And I've learned flowers, as well as people don't always bloom in the same way, yet we all bloom.


A humble and heartfelt thank you for reading The Saturday Journal.

My prayer is to share The Saturday Journal every Saturday or at least bi-weekly--

but always on Saturdays. If you would like to have The Saturday Journal come to your email box, please subscribe to A Beautiful Grace blog and newsletter at

All photos @copyright Tathel Miller, unless otherwise credited to another photographer.

1 comment

1 comentario

I love African violets and will now look at them with a new level of appreciation.💕

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