I'd like to introduce to all of you my executive assistant, Chavo.
Chavo has been with me for almost a year now, and is an integral part of everyday life at Martha Stewart Living. Coincidentally, today is his birthday. Happy Birthday, Chavo!
Not too long ago, I gave Chavo several African violets to bring back to life. In just a few weeks he has really done an amazing job. They were dried up and dying, and now they're vibrant and healthy again.
Please have a look at how beautiful these violets are–thanks to Chavo.
1 This is Chavo, happy to be giving his violets their daily check-up.
2 Look at their colors!
4 A close up gives you a sense of how healthy these plants really are.
The African violet is a perennial flowering plant native to tropical parts of east Africa. When content and healthy, the violet is beautiful and sustainable. However, proper care and nurturing are essential for the violet's growth. Lots of indirect sunlight and steady temperatures around 70°F are preferable conditions for the plant. Over-watering is a common cause for concern, as the violet likes to stay moist, but should never be soggy. Have a look at a story on violets from Martha Stewart Living.
1 Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.
2 Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.
3 Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.
4 Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.
5 Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.
6 Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.
7 Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.
And now, let's see what Chavo has to say about his "little babies."
Why are these African violets so special to you?
They were the first set of flowers that I've had to take care of as a job. You brought them in when they were dying. All of them were dead. No flowers. It became my job to keep them alive. It was a challenge, and you know me, I love a good challenge.
Would you say that you have a green thumb?
No. Absolutely not. I remember you saying to me, "Chavo, plants need water!" I had no idea about flowers. I think that's why you were challenging me with the violets, to become more aware of things outside scheduling and appointments. This is a job, too.
What is the secret to their success?
The secret is abundance of water and also the placement of the plants in sunlight–this is an amazing spot where nothing blocks their sun and they can be watched.
What is your advice to people attempting to grow and nurture plants?
It's all in the details. You just have to watch them, become aware of their needs. Now that I am aware, I can start to feel or sense when water is needed. I love them now!
1 To water the violets, Chavo places them in a plastic bin for several hours.
2 He fills the bin with about an inch and a half of room temperature water.
3 Pay attention to the water level in the container.
4 He picks away at some of the yellowing leaves or decaying matter and checks the soil, to make sure it is moist.
5 A final shot of the plants in my office!