HAPPY TRAILS - Golden Oldies
– Ruth Coulson
(Ruth is with the Australian African Violet Association and lives on the Central North Coast of NSW)
(Originally published on the African Violets Down Under Facebook page.(www.facebook.com/groups/241227626277942/?fref=nf)
This time I want to tell you about an old friend of mine in the African violet world: Happy Trails.
According to First Class it was registered on 7 November 1991. A semiminiature trailer it was hybridised by Lyndon Lyon and is described: “Double dark rose-pink star. Medium green pointed”. But it is so much more than that to me.
For a start it was in cultivation long before the registration date. It was the Princess Trailer (Best Trailer) in the first show ever held in Sydney in 1982. The grower of that plant, Secretary at the time, kindly had given me a leaf some months before that so I was quite proud to be able to say I had a little plant that was the son of the Best Trailer. I have grown it ever since. Not the original plant, but succeeding generations from it.
It has been good to me and it is one of the last plants I would ever part with. I have had Best in Show (we used to call it Queen) twice, and Princess Trailer a time or two also. Other growers also have had success with it in Sydney shows, although I have not seen it shown for some years. And, I have had years and years of unalloyed pleasure from it.
Does it stand up in comparison with the more modern trailers?
There are some differences, of course. It is a fairly robust grower for a semiminiature trailer, so expect a larger plant. It can absolutely cover itself with flowers, but it does require consistent grooming.
The stems tend to grow longer than on some more recent trailing hybrids and there is a longer gap between the nodes. For this reason it does need to be tip pruned quite regularly during its growing period or it can become rather open in form.
You may have heard that trailers need more fertiliser than rosette plants. This is particularly so with Happy Trails. Sometimes the rather older leaves get rather yellow so be prepared to give it a little extra nitrogen if this happens.
One grower said that there is always something you can “take off” a trailer. This is the very type of plant she was referring to. It flowers so heavily there are often dead flowers. It can often need the centres pinched out of the stems to control the growth, and old and tired leaves should be taken off to allow the flowers to be seen at their best.
With those things in mind – yes it compares very well. Perhaps it proves that the newest hybrids are not necessarily all that much better than the old – well, some of them, anyway. Some that we grew years ago are just oldies – but goodies!
And by the way this is something I actually spoke about today at the Hunter Valley African Violet Society meeting.