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A Month Late

January 28, 2011

My Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi) does seem to be a bit confused about the date – the one lonely bud I had, on one of my two, now not quite a year old, plants just opened a few days ago, a month after Christmas.

I’ve been watching that bud for weeks, possibly months – I can’t remember when I first saw it. I kept the plant out in the staircase window at my mother’s place, along with the rest of the holiday cacti. It’s pretty cold out there, which I guess explains why it’s blooming so late – too cold to grow much. There’s no heating in the staircase, and it’s kept above plant-killing temperatures only by the flats on either side. I’ve been worrying about it getting too cold, but luckily, so far it hasn’t.

Then on Sunday, when I went over to my mother’s to use the Internet, I saw the first petals had opened. ‘I’ve got to come back with the camera soon,’ I told myself.

The next day, I remembered I’d planned to go over to my mother’s, but I couldn’t remember why. To check my e-mail? Well, I could do that the next day – I’d much rather go to the botanical garden, and the bookshop and the fabric store and some furniture stores… When I finally got back home, I was sanding and painting furniture like a madwoman, since I’d agreed to let a friend visit on Wednesday, and I needed to be finished with this dust-producing work (and have cleaned up the dust) before then.

On Tuesday, I still couldn’t remember there’d been any other reason to going to my mother’s than checking my mail. And since I got my internet connection that day, that need was eliminated, too.

It was only late at night that I remembered: the Christmas Cactus! Oh damn, probably the flower had opened and died while I bumbled around town, my dusty living room and the internet!

So on Wednesday morning, I rushed over. And of course, despite all the times I reminded myself, I forgot my camera! So I had to wrap the plant into plenty of newspaper, stuff it into my rucksack and take it home to take a picture.

And after all that trouble, the flower isn’t even all that pretty:

I suspect it might have gotten a little too cold after all. Or too dry. Or both. In any case, it did suffer some damage. Nowhere near as pretty as the flowers on the plant I got the cuttings from:

Come to think of it, that one was also a late bloomer. I took the picture (and the cuttings) in mid-February, and they were in one of the warmest greenhouses. Maybe they’re really Carnival Cacti?

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