Cactus Flowers in Waiting

Inspired by Lens-Artists Challenge #72: Waiting

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Over 20 years ago I received a Christmas cactus as a gift. I was encouraged by the fact that cactus plants have a reputation for survival.

In other words, it would be hard for me to kill it. As I often did with houseplants – unintentionally – much to my continuing dismay.

I think it flowered that first year, but rarely did it bloom as advertised…supposedly at Christmas time. So there it sat on a living room shelf…near the window…or away from the window…for years. I pruned it. Or I didn’t. No matter what I tried, my cactus remained…well…green. Dusting the branches didn’t help either.

But thankfully it stayed alive. For the most part.

When we moved several years ago, it mysteriously started showing signs of color and bloomed gloriously at our temporary beach rental that November. I thought the placement by a sunny window made it happen. Or perhaps it was waiting for us to downsize. I’ll never know for sure.

This October, I pruned my aging cactus and pumped it full of plant food at its spot by a sunny window. And I waited.

Nothing.

Waited some more.

Until one day I noticed buds…sprouting on the tips of almost every branch.

My visiting grandson was dutifully impressed (as only a 3 year old can be) when I announced: LOOK! Buds! They will turn into flowers! This is so exciting!

Another week passed.

I watched and waited. Carefully watered. Not too much. Not too little (just guessing at how much “enough” really was)…

Then, last weekend I noticed an explosion of sorts from one of the buds:

blossom day 1

 

Waited another day…

blossom day 2

And finally today…two days later…

blossom day 4

A complete flower…

…with more to come.

Definitely worth the wait!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bright Spot

img_7886It 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…
Bright Spot.
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.

And so did I.

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Cee’s Flower of the Day

 

Flower of the Day

My contribution to Cee’s Photography FOTD

I have owned a small Christmas Cactus plant for 20 years. I have watered it. And not watered it. Plant food. Lots of light. Just a little light.

My green thumb has always been a fantasy and this cactus was no exception.

Until we moved a couple of years ago. For the first time (I think, ever) it bloomed…and bloomed. We were in a rental by the beach and I wonder if it was the light? or the air? or better karma?

We have since moved again – and it has bloomed – but never like it did 2 years ago. However, I keep on hoping it will…

 

cactus
Christmas Cactus 2016

 

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Christmas Cactus 2016