(above) A display of miniature Sinningias, part of the Gesneriad section at an African Violet show.
FFI, see the bottom of this page.
Quick Reference: Dates in 2020
<<< Note: updated September 18, 2020 >>>
The January 28 and February 25 meetings took place as scheduled.
Due to COVID-19 considerations, we have suspended in-person meetings until further notice. This will remain true for the rest of 2020. Those of us with Zoom access are meeting virtually this September (22), October (27) and November (24). Please keep in touch through our e-mail (see Contact page) and request to receive specific Zoom information on the night of the meeting.
For the same reason, there was no State Fair this year, therefore no African Violet Society of Minnesota show with participation by TCGS. The online Fair activities did not include anything that impressed this website’s editor as live-plant/flower-inclusive. The fall shows of both the North Star African Violet Council and of the African Violet Society of Minnesota are canceled.
Online Gesneriad Show
The Gesneriad Society held its annual judged show online this summer, and the images will remain available through their website through January 2, 2021. All the GS sites/pages listed below are open to public viewing with no charge or password required.
The introductory page includes the people’s choice awards:
and a link to the full show with its 389 images:
Gesneriad Society website
The main site is always available for public viewing and includes information about affiliate activities as well as the Society’s own benefits, meetings, and shows. There is a Members Area (membership required for access) with enhanced imagery and further in-depth coverage.
Other Club News
The new College of Biological Sciences Conservatory, 1534 Gortner Av on the St. Paul Campus, will be our meeting location when in-person meetings are once again practical. For further information please see
Please contact us by e-mail if you are not already on our mailing list. There have been online meetings and a conference-call format is also being considered.
About our Meetings: General Notes
Most in-person meetings have been/will be scheduled for the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:00 P.M. or slightly later, depending on campus parking restrictions. Exceptions are: the months of July, August, and December (no meetings in any year), and in adverse weather conditions such as heavy snow. Occasionally we have field trips, workshops, or parties in place of/addition to meetings. Members receive updates through e-mail. Please stay in contact with the club by sharing your e-mail address with us, and checking for messages—especially close to meeting dates.
tcgesneriads -at- gmail"dot"com
Robots prowl the Internet in search of spam targets: therefore this site does not display active links.
We need to continue to be clean, responsible guests of the University’s College of Biological Sciences. If you are unfamiliar with the campus, please contact TCGS or visit the University websites listed below.
Public transportation to the St. Paul campus is available every day: a Metro Transit bus, Route 87 Highland / Cleveland Av / U of MN, stops at the intersection of Gortner Avenue and West Dudley Avenue.
The entrance to the new CBS Greenhouse is through the west side of the Plant Growth Facilities West building. This is a classroom-and-lab building with its long axis parallel to the east side of Gortner Avenue, north of Dudley. From the bus stop at Gortner and Dudley, it is a short walk north to the building entrances.
Maps of the University of Minnesota campuses, showing buildings and streets:
A map of Plant Growth Facilities West showing classroom numbers and positions:
Information about public transit options:
See above for 2020 cancellations. The following describes once and future events.
Normally, the African Violet Society of Minnesota (AVSM) hosts three shows each year, one at the Minnesota State Fair and two at Northtown Mall. Twin Cities Gesneriad Society has a working partnership with AVSM. Our members assist in the setup and public presentations of all of these shows, which always include at least one class for “Other Gesneriads”. Non-AV gesneriads are also permitted in artistic classes such as dish gardens, terraria, and arrangements (imagine Episcia leaves and AV blossoms together!). TCGS members are affiliate members of AVSM, eligible to enter these plant shows both as exhibitors and sellers. We provide educational outreach, doing in-person demonstrations and Q&A, and making written materials available.
Minnesota State Fair:
All the shows / sales listed here are open to the public. The State Fair show requires paid admission to the Fairgrounds. All others are free of charge. This includes the North Star African Violet Council Show, typically held in September or October (further details below).
For the shows-and-sales (except the State Fair, which is display and demonstate only), plants are wanted both for display and for sale. For display, foliage/form subjects like Episcias and Petrocosmeas need to be well-developed; plants celebrated for their blossoms, such as Streptocarpus, Florist Gloxinia, Smithiantha, Kohleria, and Saintpaulia, should be blooming. Sale plants can be any size as long as they are viable, including cuttings and rhizomes. Please label clearly.
Setups precede the shows (often on the previous day) and takedowns follow closing on the second day. Getting the plants to and from the show/s is a matter of careful planning and packing; if you are interested but inexperienced, please come to the March and or September meeting/s and or State Fair workshop and ask questions, or send questions via e-mail.
All shows were primarily planned, staged, and conducted by the African Violet Society of Minnesota.
April 12 and 13, Friday and Saturday, at Northtown Mall, despite being in the aftermath of a late-winter storm of snow, wind, and ice (the notorious “thundersnow” of April 11). This was a judged show with placings and ribbons, with entries from Twin Cities Gesneriad Society members welcome. The theme was ”Superpowers of African Violets.” Public hours were 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. on Friday and 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. on Saturday. This show was surprisingly well-attended, especially on Saturday, with many kind words from viewers.
State Fair show took place on Thursday, August 22 and Friday, August 23. As always, the site was the Horticulture Building and the hours for both days were 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.
October 18 and 19, Friday and Saturday, were the dates for the AVSM Fall Show, which is an unjudged exhibit at Northtown. As for the Spring event, TCGS members brought plants for display / sale. Chas Huston hosted our information table on Friday.
Closest access for the mall area is on the south side of the complex near Best Buy. Official hours are 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. on Friday and 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. on Saturday. Less formally, the Mall is open to walkers before 10:00. The Sales staff may not be able to finalize sales before 10:00 A.M.
AVSM hosted a judged show with plants for sale at Northtown Mall Friday, April 6 and Saturday, April 7. The Upper Midwest Carnivorous Plant Society also displayed plants (for educational purposes, not for judging) and offered some for sale. The UMCPS has often joined us and we’re glad they were able to participate. Tropical plants can bring joy and better health to many people, and our organizations exist to spread the good words about them.
FFI, here is the UMCPS website:
The State Fair show dates for AVSM were Thursday, August 23 and Friday, August 24.
AVSM presented a fall display (not judged/awarded; included plant sales) at Northtown Mall, Friday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20.
TCGS assisted in all these events. As always, our efforts, time, plants, creativity, and good will are sought and welcomed.
* * *
More local activity:
The North Star African Violet Council (NSAVC) has canceled their show-and-sale this fall. We hope to see a return in 2021, as this is a beautifully presented show with AVs and other gesneriads in fascinating variety. NSAVC shows include a display class for gesneriads, and often many non-African Violet gesneriads are included in the sale offerings. (They also appear in dish gardens and terraria.)
Bachman’s Heritage Room, 6010 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55419
A weekend (Saturday and Sunday) in September and October.
Usually 9:00 A.M.–4:00 P.M. on Saturday and 11:00 A.M.–3:00 P.M. on Sunday.
Confirmation of this event for 2021 is expected to be available through bachmans"dot"com.
See Bachman’s “Workshops and Events” —> “Seminars and Events” section.
While TCGS does not have a formal connection with NSAVC, we are pleased to see interest in all plants of the Gesneriad family.
Further information about the image:
Sinningia is the botanical genus which includes “Florist Gloxinias” (the big ones!). These miniature Sinningias (sometimes called “mini-Sins”) tend to be 3" to 5" across, with the flowers held 1"–2" above the leaves. The purple-and-white flowered plant on the far right is approaching micro-Sinningia status, being not much more than 1" across.
In most African Violet and Gesneriad shows, judging is on a points basis—plants scoring above a certain level are awarded blue ribbons; next highest level is red, then yellow, then white. It’s much like schools in which there can be more than one A student.