Archive for the ‘winter’ Category

Caught under the Mistletoe …cactus   1 comment

Well, that’s the best I have to offer from the flowering plant department these days,but perhaps it will suffice.  Tiny simple buds are forming on what I’ve always referred to as a pencil cactus, which I thought was a type of  Rhipsalis. But since “looking it up,” I discover the plant is known by another name: mistletoe cactus. The pencil cactus is actually a type of Euphorbia, and my plant doesn’t exactly match those accompanying photos. The “pencil” cacti pictured show finer “leaf” growths than the tubular appendages mine develops that look like miniature sausage links. Somewhere along the way, I may have been misinformed and now I’m not actually sure  what’s what especially since I’ve never seen the translucent berries the “mistletoe” variety is said to produce after the pale yellow flowers. Hence its name.

Whew! I’ve always enjoyed these flighty little yellow petals flaring like tiny stars, a little pick-me-up in the dark days of winter.  The Rhipsalis is another native of the rain forest, and perhaps a distant cousin to Blanca. Why is it we’re always trying to grow rain forest plants in the arid suburbs of the North East? Will these small house plants be all that’s  left of the rain forests in ten or twenty years? Meanwhile, I look forward to mistletoe’s “insignificant” flowers blooming soon. And I’ll look hard for any sign of berries. How sweet this eve of Christmas Eve to see the plant in a whole new light. A rose is not just a rose after all.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Advertisements

Posted December 23, 2010 by Canio's in botany, bud watch, winter

Life of the party   Leave a comment

While Blanca winters in the greenhouse, gorgeous photographs of her summer blossoms are on view here in the bookshop. Last Saturday we had a holiday open house and reception for the photographer, Kathryn Szoka. What a knock out! The photos, that is! Huge spectacular images with titles like “Full Moon,” “White Nights” (an homage to Emily Dickinson), and my personal favorite, “Dishabille”, because, well, you know…The photographs so moved viewers that several sold, including the piece de resistance, “Full Moon” set in an exquisite silvery- gold molded frame, its thin rib pattern echoing the delicate legs of the stigma in the heart of the blossom. The many faces of Blanca seemed endless fascinating, especially on a dark winter’s night. Their beauty as portrayed by Kathryn Szoka seemed to lift many a heart.

For me, it was also the stories: one woman has been caring for a plant some 40 years old. It belonged to her father. She described the earthen foyer of a friend’s house replete with a blooming bougainvillea and orchids planted into a flower bed around an in-ground pond! Another woman showed me a photo on her Iphone of a young woman’s calf tattooed with a blossom somewhere between the lotus and the cereus. A friend suggested a novel, Cereus Blooms at Night by Shani Mootoo, a strange story set in the Caribbean about a mad woman and a male nurse. I’ll be sampling it this winter.

Word had spread about the night-bloomer photographs. Folks arrived from far and wide out to take a look, to tell their stories, and to be in company with other admirers of the Queen of the Night.  And perhaps, to bask in her gaze. The Star of Bethlehem does shine!

Posted December 21, 2010 by Canio's in Uncategorized, winter