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Section 2.3 Notes on the Mather and Uppsala collections

The Mather collection takes its name from the person who carefully kept these plants. It is from Mrs. Silva Mather of Nairobi, Kenya. The plant collection had been personally assembled by Mrs. Mather or obtained from other collectors and growers in Africa. Some had also been obtained by exchange with the Royal Botanical Garden at Kew. Mrs Mather sent a number of plants to Kew for study and also to Dr. Burtt of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Edinburgh.


The principle goal of Mrs. Mather was to maintain as complete a collection as possible of the species of the genus Saintpaulia. She was very conscious of the role that conservation of the collection carried and that the species of this genus were already in danger of extinction a result of encroachment of their habitat.


Photo: Mrs Silva Mather, offered by Annie & Caroline Mather. (© Copyright)


Hybridization - Introduction

It should first be noted that this kind of experience is for everyone, although this world can become a little more complex when one wants to push experiments further. This is not an area where it is absolutely necessary to have knowledge in genetics or biology, for example, to have fun. Blessed are those who already have such knowledge, but it is not required to undertake our own tests, and for the sake of adventure. For my part, I had the opportunity and the chance to meet one of our major hybridizer here in Quebec, Denis Croteau, who has already proven himself and from whom I derive my knowledge on this subject.


African violet trailers - Introduction

Some say they are more difficult to grow, they require more care, while others claim that most flower less and are less attractive than the single crown varieties. In my humble opinion, one can just as easily find these same issues in single crowns. While it is obvious that we still cannot find much diversity among trailers, but today, thanks to the hard work of a handful of hybridizers, a step was taken towards the creation of interesting varieties at several levels. 


We can now find some of a size more "acceptable" for the space we want to grant them, though this is artificial for me. You will understand what I mean in the pages that follow.


The number of flowers also plays a role in choosing a plant, especially for an amateur who wishes to participate in shows. If the plants produce lots of flowers, they will get the people’s favour. Among the oldest varieties of trailers, many of them do not offer the much sought after abundant flowering. However, in some contemporary varieties, this quality has been greatly improved.