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Juanita Perkins, who will lead a class at the Pomona Valley African Violet Society meeting Monday in La Verne, says she "dibbles" in African violets.

About four years ago, she had three of the plants. "I went to an African violet show in Pomona and came home with 15 of them, and from there it has just grown," she said, to a collection of more than 400 violets.

"I have a lot of fun with them. I grow them for pleasure and show. I've shown in two shows now and have done relatively well, I think."

Relatively well means 20 blue ribbons for plants that scored over 90 points out of a possible 100, and eight best-in-class awards.

"I don't know what exactly got me started on them," she said. "I just got the bug when I went to the show, and I saw what you can do with them and how you can make them so regal-looking."

Perkins, a retired office manager living in Hesperia,

says she spends between one and two hours every day taking care of her violets, and even has a special room for them.

"I don't have too many other houseplants," she said. "These keep me busy enough."

Her talk will focus on rejuvenating plants that have overgrown themselves or have diseases.

"If you do not completely groom it, it will get necky, and it doesn't look very pretty," she said, adding that show plants need to be "very symmetrical and centered in the pot." Monday's meeting, at the United Methodist Church, 3205 D St., features a plant and supply sale from 9 to 10 a.m.

The class is at 10:30 a.m. A salad bar luncheon and silent auction will follow, and a second guest speaker, Darryl Hoover, will talk about growing miniature African violets.

Admission is free. Information: (909) 593-7618.

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