Towards the end of February and the beginning of March, I always looked for signs of crocuses in our front yard. A first sign of Spring. After tramping through the soggy grass, I’d discover them poking up out of the ground despite the cold weather or lingering patches of snow. It wasn’t long before they were in full bloom.
A family of crocuses appeared every March right next to the maple tree. A hardy little bunch, they managed to muscle their way through massive amounts of roots, thatch, rock hard soil and mulch. Year after year.
No gardening effort required on my part.
I liked that.
It is cold…
And rainy (yes rainy).
Snow covered ground outside my window.
Clouds. Gray sky.
A black and white day.
Recipe for gloom.
Except for my…
The miracle plant. Back from the dead.
The phoenix rising.
My first – and only – Christmas cactus.
I brought her (I’ve decided she is female) home 20 years ago. A Christmas gift from a patient who faithfully arrived weekly for weight checks and diet advice. My former job in my former life.
Ms. Cactus hid her true glory for years. Alternately near death…yellowed leaves withering and dropping off onto the living room floor. To be sucked up by the vacuum cleaner. Or mashed in the carpet by a teenager clomping across the room.
Even though nutrition was the centerpiece of my professional career, I often overlooked…plant food…on a regular basis. Perhaps because I was otherwise occupied with a job, kids, house and such. Feeding the family…remembered that.
For years she just sat there getting dusty – sprouting no buds – no matter what I did. Houseplant books never agreed. The internet couldn’t decide either. I pruned. I overwatered. A branch broke off. I under watered. Changed locations: bookshelf…garden window…coffee table…side table…. No luck. No color.
Maybe because it’s a cactus…which would imply it is meant to somehow grow and thrive in the desert…explains why it hung on.
And then we moved.
My cactus flowered somewhat at our beach rental 2 years ago, crammed in the corner of the tiny living room.
And then nothing.
Last year, a few blooms randomly appeared.
Now…right in the middle of January…when I needed it most…Ms. Cactus exploded in color. And has rightfully earned a place of honor on the kitchen table (when not posing for pictures).
One happy plant. Looking pretty good for the old age of twenty.
Downsizing to this condo apparently was just what she needed.
Less sunlight means catch it when I can.
Which I did this morning.
My Bougainvillea plant (thanks to blogger AYR for helping identify it from a previous post) plays dead for weeks at a time.
Flowerless for the past month or so.
Despite sitting right next to a window.
No matter what I did.
I fed it some fertilizer a week or so ago and just let it be.
This past week, it surprised me once again by bursting into bloom. Just when I needed some color…
to filter and bounce shadows in the morning sun.