A TIME TO BLOOM AND A TIME TO FADE – FLOWER OF THE DAY – Marilyn Armstrong

A Time to Bloom and a Time to Fade – FOTD – 12/12/2018

I thought, when I watered the cactus yesterday, the blooms would vanish quickly. And indeed, two flowers dropped — but two new ones opened up. So it lives on and maybe, if I am very lucky, it will make it through the holidays.

Still fully blooming!
Bigger and more beautiful.

ADVENT FOR CHRISTMAS – Marilyn Armstrong

Weekly Photo Challenge – Advent

I came to Christmas late. Born of Jewish and atheist parents, we had no celebration at all. Oh, how I envied the boisterous enthusiasm of my Christian friends! The tree. The gifts. The decorations. The family gatherings. It looked like a perfect world to me.

Waiting for Santa at the north end of the Commons – Photo Marilyn Armstrong

When I married a non-Jew (you couldn’t call him Christian because he never showed any interest in Christianity or attended a church except for a wedding or baptism … or any other religious establishment, either.

He believed himself a Druid and was planning to return as a tree. I hope he is at one with my forest. He would enjoy the birds.

Uxbridge Commons at Christmas
Boston Commons at Christmas
Uxbridge Commons – December night

The great thing was Christmas. His family, lacking any noticeable relationship to any religion, was extremely enthusiastic about Christmas.

They were the biggest wrappers and tree decorators anywhere. I could jump into the event with a vengeance without feeling that I’d leapt into another religion since there didn’t appear to be any religion involved.

The Episcopal Church on the Commons, Uxbridge
Santa at the Boston Pops

There were Carols to be sung, though, which was as close to religion as we ever got. When Owen was born, we got even more enthusiastic about the holiday. There was little he could want that he did not get. He was an only child and we had a lot of friends, many of whom were Jewish and thus delighted to find an object for holiday giving.

I wish I had pictures of the wrapping from days of old, but I don’t. All I can say is that some were art.  These days, just getting something wrapped at all is a big deal. Oh, how times do change, don’t they?

I used to wrap packages for the dogs, but they never got a grip on unwrapping. They were baffled by the packages, whining while we unwrapped and passed out the goodies. Now we just give them the goodies and they seem happy without the wrapping paper.

Perhaps they are wiser than we are.

AS GOOD AS IT GETS: THE FULL BLOOM OF THE CHRISTMAS CACTUS – Marilyn Armstrong

As Good As It Gets – FOTD – 12/10/2018

I’ve been following the progress of this lovely Christmas Cactus since its first bud last month and now, it has come, I think, to the end of its peak.

I watered it yesterday. The water quickly made the flowers limp as I knew it would. But the segments of the cactus were beginning to curl inward, a sign that the plant was thinking about dying too. So, there comes a moment when you either water it, or it could up and die.

I picked watering rather than death. This has been an extremely healthy plant and I’d like to give it another year to bloom a few more times. One of these days, I’ll be forced to put it in a new pot, but I shudder at the thought. These guys — as Mrs. Angloswiss discovered — have a knack for self-destructing when you try to pot them. The segments just separate. It’s what they are supposed to do, but it is very unnerving when it happens.

IF you are going to put them in a new pot, let them dry out completely first and don’t do it when they have any buds on them.

Since I didn’t want to lose it, I realized I was going to lose the last of the buds, but I watered it.

It felt like dried sand, so I don’t think it was too early. If I’m lucky, it will bloom again in a few weeks. This is, after all, the season for blooming cactus.

So these are the full blooming cactus. They are not macros, but they are shot very close, but not using the macro lens. I wanted to show more of the entire plant this time. I hope you have enjoyed the journey.

I certainly have had fun showing the process of budding, and blooming.

CHRISTMAS CACTUS MACROS – CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Cactus Macros


Oddly enough, that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing! Between the birds at the feeder and the genuine macros on the Christmas Cactus, it’s been all close-ups and macros for several weeks … with a few more weeks to come.

Tonight, though, we’re going to make an excursion to see if we can get the light on the Common. It’s cold, but it’s very clear and as far as I know, we aren’t expecting any rain or sleet or snow … or for that matter, toads and frogs, descending from on high.

A good time for cameras for as long as we can stay outside. If there isn’t much wind, we have a little longer.

I can’t tolerate cold as I used to. I was always warm, but these days, I’m always cold … even when it isn’t all that cold. So I guess we’ll see. Maybe I’ll wrangle with the extremely warm by complicated heavy winter coat I own.

I never wear it because I can’t always figure out what all those buttons, zippers, elastic, cords do. By the time I manage to get myself into it, I’m exhausted and need a nap. We shall see!

Meanwhile … closeups and macros!

CHRISTMAS CACTUS IN FULL BLOOM! – Marilyn Armstrong

 In Full Bloom – FOTD – 12/7/2018

This is probably the biggest blossoming this cactus has ever had. Each day, I find another bud has opened and it is so beautiful!

The cactuses are backed against the dining room French doors … which is right in front of the bird and squirrel feeders. Sometimes, it’s so amazing, I’m not sure what I should shoot first.

On a sunny day like today, when there’s plenty of light and the windows are clean, it’s a brilliant, joyful choice to make.


In full bloom

I shot everything and I do mean EVERYTHING. I shot so much that I spent this entire day processing and just didn’t have the strength of character to go out and shoot some more. So tomorrow.

Presenting also the first shots of this year’s Christmas tree. Because the season has arrived!

Merry Christmas, Good Chanukah and throw in any holiday you celebrate. I’m good with everything!

EVEN MORE CHRISTMAS CACTUS! – Marilyn Armstrong

Even MORE Christmas Cactus -FOTD – 12/6/18

Nothing else is blooming at the moment and we don’t live in a warm place where flowers seem to grow all year round. So other than naked trees, there aren’t a lot of flowers to show. So we are all stuck with the Christmas Cactus.

One of the new flowers
New blossom – an impression

BETWEEN ONE DAY AND THE NEXT – Marilyn Armstrong

New Blooms – Christmas Cactus  12/3/18


Yesterday, there was one flower — beginning to look a bit weary around the edges and a lot of fat buds. Today the first flower is moving on, but three new ones are popping open.

I am sad that I can’t manage to keep a Poinsettia alive, but the Christmas Cactus makes up for it and the smaller one is just beginning to look as if it is thinking about setting buds. Funny that two essentially identical cactuses — they were both cuttings from the same friend — have such different blooming patterns.

Yesterday


TODAY


Bursting buds
Almost in bloom. Some of the petals are open
New blooms today!
The youngest flowers