My interest in African Violets started with three plants.
Jim and I together with our three children had moved into a new home in 1974, shortly after which we became Accredited Newsagents, delivering newspapers and magazines to homes and shops in the Gosnells area – on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days of the year.
With three teenage children and very busy working it didn't leave a great deal of time to socialise.
In 1979/80 I joined the African Violet Society of WA.
At that time the meetings were held in the Church of Christ Hall in Alexander Road, Rivervale, moving a few years later to a Hall in Sandgate Street, South Perth and then to our present venue in Manning.
As my interest and my collection expanded Jim set up a
light stand for me in my office. My violets were my therapy, they were excellent company as I worked and their bright faces kept me sane.
The first official position I held in the society was as Treasurer, a position I held for a number of years.
I have served three terms as President being elected in 1988, in 2000 and in 2003. Over the years I have also held position of Vice President, Secretary, Committee Member and Gesneriad Council Representative.
During my time with the society I have twice occupied the position of President of the Gesneriad Council of Australia and New Zealand in 1989/91 and again in 2003/06. With the help of dedicated committee and members of our society we organised and hosted the 1989 and 2003 Gesneriad Council meetings here in Western Australia.
When having a role with the committee over many years, I found myself involved in helping find venues for Shows and Displays to promote African Violets. Assisting in setting up displays and having active communication and promotion to members of the public who came to admire and buy at these shows and horticultural displays.
I have also participated in presenting public talks and demonstrations to other horticultural groups or social clubs who had invited our society to provide a guest speaker.
In 1985 I obtained my Judging Certificate together with Jill Wallan and Pat Pearce. We were the first three WA members to obtain an Australian Judging Certificate through the Gesneriad
In 1991, Jim and I purchased the Kalgan River Chalets & Caravan Park in Albany, a business venture that we both enjoyed immensely for eight years. In 1999 we sold the business and returned to Perth. Whilst in Albany I maintained my interest and involvement with the society coming to Perth to judge at several Annual Shows. During this period I also judged the African Violet Section – State Championship, at the Perth Royal Show for two years in a row.
African Violets and the many friends I have met through
my involvement in the society have given me a great deal of pleasure over many years.
My greatest achievement was becoming a Life Member in
I first joined AVS WA about 1981, that’s a long time to try and remember I will do my best.
I joined when our meetings were held at South Perth Guides Hall; we were there for about 26 years then we moved to
Manning’s Activity Centre maybe 6 years ago.
In that time I have won many awards at our May Annual Show at Kardinya Park Shopping Centre including Queen of the Show, Princess of Miniatures, Princess of Trailers, sets of three semi-miniatures and set of three miniatures.
My late husband Joe, won Princess of Semi-Miniatures with Rob’s Slap Happy (pictured below). Joe also won Princess of Gesneriads many times and he always helped set up tables, and setting up at may show I don’t know how many times I have helped to set tables.
I have worked on the Society’s Committee in different positions for many years. I had been the Vice President for a few years however, when I was told my next step is President … oh, in no time I was out of there!
I have been on the Sales Table and don’t know how long. I am more of a ‘hand’s on’ helper.
I have won many awards at our Society and it becomes a little embarrassing because I think someone else should win but you
have to put time into plants to win.
We have travelled all over Perth and Fremantle districts, showing our beautiful violets and Gesneriads. I have grown Sinningias for many years now. It’s time to let someone else have a go, the more you do the more you learn.
I have enjoyed my time and made many lovely friends but can I sit back - we will see. I love to help our members do better.
Some of my favourite plants (pictured
below) are the semi-miniature Little Katherine, Optimara Little Pearl a miniature, RD’s True Blue, Miniature Trailer Pixie Blue, Semi-Miniature Jays Icecastle and the Standards Starlight Express, Heinz’s Perfection and Wonderland.