THE STORY OF A PASSION

We can not hide from the truth, the African violet has lost its former glory in recent years. Some clubs are closing and others are struggling to renew their "membership".

 

It's all about passion! The passion goes out when the creative side disappears or is annihilated in any way. If you do not search to be creative, to renew your desire for renewal, do not expect that the passion back.

 

We must therefore learn to be creative to revive the flame which animates the soul of every being in his own little world, which is called the passion.

A great lady!

Under this component, 'The story of a passion,' I want to share with you some photos and stories of a great Lady with whom I shared in time, without knowing her, that passion for the preservation of these  wild plants. Through her creative being and writings, Ms. Silva Mather, has managed to imbue me the spark I needed to finish writing my book and renew that flame in me.

 

Ms. Mather has devoted part of her life to the preservation of Saintpaulia Species by growing and sharing as much as possible to give them a change of survival.


Here an extract of Ms. Mather's remarks, from an article appearing in the AVM, 'Saintpaulia Species in Jeopardy', May/June 1987

“ (…) So the purpose of this article is not only to tell you of the present plight of the wild species but to urge you most strongly to keep them going there and elsewhere, and to do all you can to encourage others to grow them too. Soon all that may be left of these little treasures will be those growing the world in private collections, botanic gardens, and in the few commercial nurseries that offer them for sale. Sad as this reflection may be, at least they will then be preserved for posterity and not become entirely extinct and lost to us forever.”

 

Some species of this genus have been named The Mather Collection at the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew in honor of this great lady and all her efforts for the survival of these plants.

 

Unfortunately, Ms. Mather died tragically in a car accident in 1992, the same year I became interested in the preservation of these species. At that time, I knew nothing of the existence of Ms. Mather or her thoughts on saving these plants. And yet ...

 

During an initial conversation with one of my contacts in Kenya with whom I tried to find documentation on the natural environment of these plants, he said he did not believe that my book project was change anything. He said the key to get things moving is to be on the field. He firmly believed that the cultivation of these small plants on the windowsills to the other side of the world would not help their cause. What I am eager to respond with great conviction: "When men will have completed the massive destruction of these forests full of priceless treasures, and all hopes of finding some small populations of these still viable plants will be lost, the people like you who are active on site to protect this fragile environment will certainly be happy to know that there is still, of these plants on the windowsills on the other side of the planet. This is certainly one of many ways to ensure the survival of these plants in danger of extinction." After this exchange, the person has agreed to help me with my book project and understanding the importance of action, wherever we are and whatever action taken.

 

That is why in all my presentations, I always say: "Grow even if only one of these wild plants, would already be a step in a good direction. You could then say you have contributed to the safeguarding of at least one species on our planet. It is the simple little gestures such as these which finally make the big differences.