Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Stark Contrast.

Last Friday we had the only proper snowfall of the winter the effect of which only lasted a couple of days, however it did cause chaos as it is always does, the local council who have been gritting for even the slightest hint of frost neglected to do so when they had a clear warning of impending snowfall but then we would be disappointed if they actually got it right. One of the biggest problems today appears to be that most people just haven't the experience of driving in snow and as soon as one gets stuck the rest quickly follow. To finish off the day I battled my way through to keep a hospital appointment to find the place almost empty due to cancellations and to be told that they didn't really need to see me. Perhaps those who cancelled had more sense than I. Such is life!


Typical view
Note the dark area where there was already standing water.
Waterlogged ground and nowhere for the snow melt to go gives us an impromptu pond! The candelabra primulas are still loving it.

By way of contrast my Christmas Cacti are in flower, they never cease to amaze me. In 2014 they were all pretty much neglected standing on a rack in the porch and only getting water spasmodically yet they flowered in October with a few flowers still emerging in the spring. Last year (2015) I put them outside, mainly because they were taking up too much space, and they appeared to thrive, the regular watering (rain) certainly cheered them up no end. They were brought in as frost was imminent, left in the porch for a while and brought in to the house when they started to show bud but have only just decided to come into flower.  








There are no captions for the above as I have no idea which cultivars they are, they have been interbred so much it is almost impossible to tell one strain from another and I am no expert.

I first knew these plants as Zygocactus truncatus although they were originally known as
Epiphyllums, they are now known as Schlumbergeras. Through breeding the colour range has extended considerably and there are meant to be two main strains of cultivars, one based on the original Schlumbergera truncata (syn. 
Zygocactus truncatus) and the other derived from Schlumbergera russelliana known as the Buckleyi Group. The problem lies in that my plants show characteristics of both strains on each plant, in fact the only difference I can detect is that two of them have stems more in line with the Buckleyi Group, these are more rounded and are woodier to the point of being brittle, so all well and good you would think but the flowers belong to the description of those of the Truncata Group. Confused ..................... I certainly am.

12 comments:

  1. Just enjoy your Zygocactus/Epiphyllums/Schlumbergeras Rick since they are doing so well. Here the snow is gone (almost a month ahead of time). We will no doubt get some more but it hopefully won't last.

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    1. Although they spend all but a short time looking very uninteresting the flowers are certainly worth it. It must be really great Alain to get back to gardening after your enforced winter lay-off, although we don't have the extremes that you suffer the bad weather here does very much nip one's enthusiasm in the bud, as I get older I am becoming more of a "fair weather" gardener I am afraid.

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  2. Councils seem to be the same country wide Rick. Don't think your council is unique! My dad used to grow a lot of Chrismas cacti sadly when I was clearing his house I binned all of them due to the fact I thought they were fussy. My ignorance sticking again!

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    1. Hi Angie, I worked for the council in-between college etc. and used to go out gritting the roads, only at that time you had to stand on the back of a wagon with a shovel to do it, the difference was that we were serving the community not dictating to it. Please, please don't put yourself down we all learn something every day when it comes to the complicated ever-changing subject which is horticulture.

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  3. I have also stood zygos outside in Summer. They really like it in a shady position. Unfortunately the slugs liked them! I now over summer mine in a north facing glass porch
    I have had a major propagating and pruning session last week. I don't normally prune them but they were really getting heavy and dense.

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    1. When mine have finished flowering I will probably be following suit Roger. The particularly woody ones will be propagated from and scrapped, the old stems break so easily.

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  4. The snow is a nuisance in lots of ways but it does provide a great opportunity for a photoshoot. Chilly but lovely pics.

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    1. Thanks Sue, all gone now, we have some nice chilly but sunny weather instead.

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  5. We have the threat of a couple of inches of snow today or tomorrow. Hoping that it passes us by.

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    1. Hi Jason, it only lasted for a couple of days, we had some dry weather initially sunny then cloudy followed by heavy rain and parts of the garden are under water yet again! I am getting heartily fed up of this winter.

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  6. Wow, fantastic Christmas Cacti, Rick! You must have had them for quite awhile I guess ?
    I had to check the date of your post when I saw your snowy photos, as we have escaped completely! It may be inconvenient but it does look lovely in your photos!

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  7. Hi Jane, love the Christmas Cacti, but I must admit that their tendency to brittle woodiness can be a bit trying. Along with my orchids they seem to thrive on neglect.

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