Fall Gardening: African Violets with Julie Holloman

October 30, 2020

It may be surprising for some but caring for a garden this time of year is more than possible! For Brunswick Forest Resident, Julie Holloman, one of the most rewarding flowers that you can grow are African Violets. To ensure you are rewarded for your gardening patience, Julie has shared some helpful tips!

The close-knit community lifestyle is one that is not unfamiliar to Julie. Originally from Macclesfield, North Carolina, Julie was quite used to living in smaller neighborhoods where everyone knew one another like family. “My town was one of only 500 people. I always used to say it was down to 499 when I left because not a lot of people go there,” Julie tells us while laughing. If Julie’s surname sounds familiar, it is because many Brunswick Forest residents are already familiar with her husband Richard Holloman over at the House of Pickleball! After moving around from Raleigh and then to Greenville, Julie finally settled on the Wilmington area in 1996. Brunswick Forest had that old town charm of her old town, and she quite liked that. “The neighbors were friendly, and you could easily make many friends just by walking down the street,” she says.

During her six years living in Brunswick Forest, Julie has found a lot of amenities and activities to keep herself busy. But none have quite captured her love like gardening has. Amongst her favorite flowers to care for, are African Violets. African Violets are a desired prize for home planting endeavors and are known for their beauty. Some gardeners, however, find them difficult to care for, and usually give up on their efforts. Julie heard about these rumors and remained undaunted in her Autumn gardening quest, “I always saw many other people successfully care for African Violets before. I though that if they can do it then so can I!” Though initially dogged with watering and fertilizing problems, Julie has now become an African Violet planting master with gorgeous blooms that would make any homestead stand out this time of year. Through trial and error, Julie has now gathered the perfect amount of information that anyone needs to ensure beautiful flowers like hers. Her love of growing African Violets is so well-known throughout Brunswick Forest that she has even lectured about them to gardening clubs. “I’ve even begun propagating a special mulch for them, which I then sell to different shops,” she adds. Through a lot of research and self-education, Julie has found that African Violets are an ideal and easy plant to grow in a pot. “The main mistake that people make when gardening, is that they think of all plants as being the same. Every plant needs its own unique requirements to grow. Think of where the plant’s natural environment would be and adjust its care to that. With African Violets, they grow in regions of moisture. They are used to the humidity and thus they do need more water than people think.”

According to Julie, African Violets are ideal plants to keep inside your home during Fall because they are relatively easy to care for if you educate yourself. They are also easy to keep in a pot and place them wherever you need a splash of color. “African Violets like moisture and regular watering, but they do not like to be drowned. They also like filtered light and not full sun. These are important to remember when caring for them!”

“Gardening is one of those activities that just makes you happy! It gives you a lot to do, especially when you are at home for longer periods of time. Gardening allows you to care for something and bring it to life, and I think that makes people filled with joy.” When it comes to African Violets, Julie is our resident expert and always eager to help.  As she puts it, “African Violets are one rewarding flower.”