It’s definitely the season of the daylilies. They really are everywhere. I keep trying to find new ways to take pictures of daylilies that don’t look exactly like the last set of daylilies, but so far … well … they look like daylilies. In particular, the leggy tall ones we grow locally.
I was surprised when I realized the cactus was going to bloom again. It only stopped blooming a month ago, but apparently, this wasn’t so much a new bloom as the end of the intermission following the first blooming.
I’m sorry I didn’t write anything more today. It was another doctor day followed by a grocery shopping day. I haven’t been out much, so I met all the people I haven’t seen in a while — quite a while — and we all had to talk and then a few more people showed up, so we needed more. Turns out we were blocking the aisle, so we had to break up the party.
It got downright riotous in the old grocery store this afternoon.
When I came home, my lift chair was refusing to work and I realized I’m going to have to get the manufacturer to send someone and have it set up properly. Owen did the best he could with it, but it needs the pros.
I was also thrilled to see that my blood pressure was down by 20 points up and down today, though I think it’s because the nurse in my PCP’s office knows how to take a manual blood pressure measurement.
Today, we actually got outside with cameras. It wasn’t raining and for a few hours, it was partly sunny. It was cold, but not bitter … and I needed prescriptions and some food. I’ve been waiting for the beginning of the month and the arrival of money and pickings were getting a bit thin.
Phew. We made it.
Uxbridge was holding its annual Christmas Parade, so not only did we get my prescription and groceries, but we got a place to park. We took about 300 pictures of the Commons as they were getting ready to start the parade.
And then … I saw the clock and a tower! I took pictures! Oddly, it came out square. I forgot that the only part of the old church that still functions is the clock.
I’ve been living in a New England rain forest. This means that mostly, I’ve been shooting what is easy to get to, namely the birds who visit my feeder and my plants. Birds and buds. And it looks like that’s pretty much all we are going to have in the foreseeable future.
More rain, so more birds and buds.
If I ever get outside again, something else may come up, but meanwhile, the buds have it.
In the course of growing my Christmas Cactus, I get a lot of questions. Mostly, people whose cacti aren’t budding or blooming want to know why mine are budding and blooming.
There are a couple of things you need to know about Christmas Cacti.
First, they don’t do well in artificially lit rooms. They need to be near a window in a room that is not frequently used. In this case, it’s our dining room. We don’t do a lot of dinners anymore and it feels a little weird, just Garry and I at the big table. So we eat while we watch TV. It doesn’t limit the amount of cooking I do, but it’s a little more cozy, a little less formal.
This means that the dining room is mostly used for … tada … growing plants. I’ve got a set of French doors where most of the plants grow, and the aloe is doing very well on top of the organ which no one plays — probably because it’s old, wheezy, and many of the keys don’t work.
I also have a big Philodendron in the kitchen. It’s the only plant that gets watered regularly. It virtually never flowers, though it is rather interesting when it does.
That’s the second part of forcing your Christmas Cacti to bloom.
Flowers are what plants create when they think they are going to die. It’s how they create new seeds for the next season. A plant that is well cared for and frequently watered doesn’t produce flowers. This is not only true of a Christmas cactus. It’s true of all flowering plants. Think about it. When a plant flowers, unless it’s a shrub, it dies back. Our daylilies bloom like mad and then, they die. They come back the following year, but blooming is the finale of their season.
But the cactus blooms and then continues to grow and will bloom again, rather more like a shrub than a flower.
So to make your Christmas Cactus bloom, you need to keep it in a bright window. Not sunny, but bright. Water it ONLY when it is dry as a bone. Really dry. No dampness in the soil. If you water it when it’s got buds on it, they may very well fall off, so you have to control your normal human gardener’s instinct to nurture them.
Christmas Cactus are cactus. They need dry, sandy earth and very little water. This is true for all cactus and other succulent plants, as well as many plants that have succulent roots, like the dracaena, for example.
As for when they will bloom? Mine usually bloom together, but this year, one is full of buds and the other has none at all. It will bloom, but probably a few weeks after the larger one blooms. Why?
I don’t know. Despite all the discussion, they can bloom pretty much any time of the year and sometimes, several times a year. One of the really important things to know is that they don’t like being moved from a window where they bloomed to a different window. If they are happy where they are, try to leave them there.
Mostly, leave them alone. Very few houseplants die of underwatering, but many plants die of over-watering, too much re-potting, too much fertilizer, too much handling.
The truth about growing plants is so much simpler than people think. Find a window they like — bright but not full sun. Water them when they get dry. Don’t water them when they are not dry. Mud does not provide oxygen to roots. Mud will make the roots of your plants rot.
Then, enjoy them. It isn’t hard to grow plants — even the recalcitrant cactus — but it can be really hard to leave them alone!
And if we ever get a sunny day, I may get some better pictures. We haven’t had a bright day in more than a week.
Yesterday it was cold and rainy and they promised today would be better. Not merely is it better.
It’s just BEAUTIFUL. Warm, sunny, with a very light breeze. Spring arrived. Finally. I don’t know for how long it plans to stay. We’ve been teased before, but maybe this time, it’s the real deal.
Abrupt? Well … yesterday I was seriously considering turning up the heat and today, I’m thinking “air conditioner.” Is that abrupt enough?
We are not yet blooming, except for our forsythia which are in urgent need of trimming back. They are finally so big, they barely bloom at all.
They are huge and if not cut back soon, I think may march right into the house and take up residence here along with the flowers and dogs and us.
I should mention that you really should wear shoes if you are going to walk on the path recently clipped of thorny roses. Ouch!
Usually, my Christmas cactus blooms like mad around Thanksgiving, but this year, they looked limp and miserable.
I realized I had done the one single thing that you can’t do to a cactus: I over-watered it. Not by a lot, mind you. A little bit. I let the earth stay moist instead of letting it get dusty dry, which is what you need to do to bring them into flower.
When they failed to flower at Christmas, I stood in front of my mirror and yelled at me. I told me to “PUT DOWN THE WATERING CAN.” I did.
For the past week, I’ve been watching the buds come out on the cactus. Red and dark pink — on the same plant. That’s new. Usually I get just one color per blooming. Most of them are still unopened, but we’re going away for the next few days. I’m afraid i may miss the main blooming, so I shot pictures today, just in case.
I should have used my macro lens, but I didn’t … just a more or less standard f1.7 “normal.” They are still pretty. I’ll try to grab a few more shots tomorrow.