Monday, December 29, 2008
My holiday companion...
When my grandmother got married and set up her own home back in the early 1900s, she took a cutting of her family's Christmas cactus. She nurtured that plant all of her life and one of the rites of passage as her grandchildren grew up and moved into their own homes was a starter plant from Grandma. My plant has been through several divisions over the years but has been in its current pot for at least 20 years. It now measures 54" from side to side. It thrives on my unheated porch here in the San Francisco area -- getting filtered sun in the summer and sunny days and cool nights in the winter. I tend to it somewhat absent-mindedly, giving it a mild dose of all-purpose fertilizer every time I water it and an annual "bath" to wash off the dust and pollen that collects during the warmer months.
For this, I am rewarded every year with a profusion of blooms starting right around Christmas. This year, the first of the elegant magenta flowers appeared about a week before Christmas and will cover the plant in the next week or so. Blooming will continue for at least a month.
It's a lovely memory of my grandmother.