Francine Pilon spent almost 14 years researching to produce this book in French and almost 2 years to make the English version; a journey she feels qualifies as a passionate adventure. Trained as a illustrator and a graphic designer her interest in African violets dates to May 1992 following a visit to a local annual Show. Specializing in the species and trailing varieties for the last 18 years, Francine is know for her unbridled enthusiasm and dynamism at the discussions and workshops she holds at various African violet clubs and at different Horticultural Society.Francine also interest herself in hybridizing especially with species in the Genus Saintpaulia. To date she has registered 13 trailers, one semiminiature and two standard single crown with African Violet Society of America. So far, three of its hybrids have already won the prize for the best introduction into various local exhibition. Since 1999 Francine has served on committees in numerous African violet Society and was an organizing committee for the 2001 National African Violet Convention held in Longueuil.
It is simply thanks to her perseverance that she can finally introduce a book so complete; rich in information and pictures. Some photographs show theses magnificent plants in their natural environment, demonstrating their fragility and the importance of taking action to protect these sites before it is too late. With the help of the Internet she was able to establish contacts nearly everywhere in the world (China, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania, United States). What wonderful encounters they were!
Why should such a book interest the general public? The African violet is by far the most widely marketed plant in the world. But in spite of this, at the moment based on discussions, Francine observed after all these years the world of this plant is still obscure. Further, as we have already mentioned, there is no book in either French or English has been written on the history, origins, or its species, and still less on the intriguing African violet trailers which today remain the least prefereed of the group. This book, long awaited by African violet fanciers, will certainly delight a larger audience of those wanting to learn more about this popular little plant that still has so much reveal.
Photo: W. Lapointe, Journal de Montreal, 1995
'Cherokee Trail', Standard Trailer, Best novice, Best in its class, Best Trailer in Show