In the mid-20th century, hybridizersfrom all over were on a mission tocreate the first double pink African violet. And Paul Sorano’s grandfather, of Lyndon Lyon greenhouses, was thewinner.
“In ’54 they showed him in St.Louis and caused quite a stir. And then hebecame famous practically overnight and that brought people in from out ofstate and all over the country then oversees actually,” says Sorano
The double pink is a multi-layer pink Africanviolet, as opposed to having just a single layer of petals. Sorano grandfather, Lyndon Lyon, washybridizing flowers as a hobby when he created the double pink, but that grewinto much more. Eventually, hisgrandson, Paul, took over the operation 1982. And the greenhouse has come a long way since creation of the flower. Soranosays customer often say they feel like kids in a candy store here, with so manyvarieties to choose from.
“There’s a full gamut of edgedflowers, glittered flowers, striped flower which we call pinwheels, fantasy,bi-colors.”
And there are all sorts of sizes. Serrano says it takes a knowledge of geneticsand an eye for good traits to make the perfect hybrid.
“It’s nice to be in a greenhouse everyday, it’s quiet and peaceful and you walk around and you’ve got the color,”says Sorano.
And this central New York greenhouseis one of just a few still alive and well. “A lot of them are from my grandfather’s era so a lot of them have disappearedthere’s just a few of us left,” Sorano tells us.
To care for the flower, Sorano saysthey’re indoor plants, they like 65-75 degree conditions, bright light, andfiltered sun. He says people make oftenmake the mistakes of over-watering, over-potting, and under feeding the flower. They like small pots with a loose medium, andthey need food.