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As a child growing up in Manchester, NH, I always looked forward to visiting my Grandmother. She let me work in her garden and taught me a lot about growing plants, especially African violets. I grew violets in my bedroom until high school, but then I got busy with other stuff and did not grow them again until around 20 years later. That’s when, in 1974, just after moving from California to St. Louis, I happened to see an ad for an African violet show at the Missouri Botanical Garden. There I met many African violet enthusiasts and left the show with small plants and plenty of info about African violet clubs in St Louis.
I joined one of the clubs, acquired more plants, built plant stands, and found myself firmly back in my African violet hobby. I grew many attractive plants from leaves supplied by fellow hobbyists, and this time around got involved in something different, hybridizing and producing African violet seeds. There’s something about growing any plant from seeds; you’ve got to be a fellow seeds person to understand it. Even now numerous crape myrtles that beautify our front yard resulted from my hybridization efforts with crapes.
In 1976, I placed an ad offering African violet seeds in the African Violet Magazine, which was — and still is– published by the African Violet Society of America. The response was good so I advertised in more magazines and formed a company, Nadeau Seeds. I produced more and more seeds and conducted a lot of experiments to find the best conditions for getting my seeds to germinate well and grow into healthy plants for my customers. In 1980, I married Katsuko Shimizu, a native of Tokyo, Japan. Katsuko and I produced African violet seeds and sold them retail by mail order. As time went on we hired two people and expanded capacity. Later we added a wholesale division and sold our seeds to Park Seeds, Burpee Seeds, Sakata Seeds (Japan), and Thompson & Morgan Seeds (England).
Today we are selling African violet seeds in the retail and wholesale markets using the Internet. We have renewed our research efforts to focus on finding growing conditions and instructions that our retail customers can use to easily achieve success with our seeds, and we hope you will enjoy the seeds and the plants they produce.
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