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.