AfricanVioletsI don't know about you, but when the Christmas tree comes down, I'm frequently left with an "empty feeling". It helps that Chicago has had some bright sunny – warm – days of late. But still there seems to be something missing.

This is a somewhat drab time of year. In addition to the missing Christmas decorations, focus now turns to updating finances and doing tax returns and other mundane tasks that sap one's energy and enthusiasm.

But I've learned that it's easy to get a boost of energy and warmth. It doesn't take much more than adding one or more living plants.

This year, I've been gifted. My African violets have bloomed consistently now for several weeks and there are still more buds coming.

Some people have a green thumb with African violets. They manage to have them blooming year round. I've not been so lucky. I usually kill them  — until this year.

There seems to be some tricks to keeping these delightful plants in full bloom. For me these have included:

  • keeping the plant where it enjoys morning sun
  • keeping a pot of water under the plant to increase humidity a bit
  • allowing the plant to stay root bound.

The last trick is for me….keeping the plan right there on my desk where I can enjoy it right beside my computer screen. This does wonders for my morale when it's gloomy out or when I'm bogged down with boring tasks.

If you don't have an African violet that's as happy as mine is right now, not to worry. Any plant that you enjoy will work as well. The local grocery stores have a ready supply of plants and colorful flowers for those who would like to experiment.

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