Paso Robles, PASO Magazine, Millie Drum

Millie Drum

The local chapter of the American Violet Society of America was established in September 2009 with 5 to 6 members, 4 of which are still active members. Original member Mary Thompson assists the Central Coast Violet Society with organizing the meetings and annual show and sale along with their participation in the Main Street Lavender Festival. Mary adds, “Currently, there are 11 members and 2 men recently joined. We just had our second show at Brookdale Senior Living in April and plan to have our 2019 show on April 27.”
The meetings consist of education on growing, propagation, separating, grooming, pest control and other topics. In November, the club presents a guest speaker from Bakersfield to talk about violet trailer varietals and now to grow and groom them.
Mary adds, “For me, violets just make me happy.  My love of violets came from my mom. I almost always find that love comes from a mom or grandmother. It’s not uncommon to find someone who was given a violet when a loved one has died. Violets thrive for years and years. There are so many different kinds and colors. I enjoy telling and showing people the varieties. They don’t come in just pink, purple and white.  They come in green, green/hot pink, purple with green edges and everything in between.  We are getting some beautiful violets from Russia and Ukraine. We are all collectors. It seems once you get the bug, you become a hoarder.”
The club collects specifically named violets. Four of the members raise gesneriads, which are cousins of the violets. A violet with a name registered over 25 years ago is considered vintage. If the name is lost, it becomes a noid (no id).  A noid is the plant you buy at a big box store, grocery store or local nursery.  Occasionally you’ll find one that has a name on it.  Collectors rejoice! The club has a database that gives us the description and registered date (birthday) of that plant.  Not all plants are registered.  For a show a plant must have a name and match the description of the plant to be entered in the horticulture division.
Our local Central Coast Violet Society meets the second Saturday of the month from 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon at the activity room of Brookdale Senior Living, 1919 Creston Road in Paso Robles. For information, contact Mary at or visit their Facebook page. For general information on the African Violet Society of America, visit