Thursday, May 22, 2014
Author: Heather Hacking firstname.lastname@example.org @HeatherHacking on Twitter
I read somewhere that a certain percentage of our happiness is obtained in the form of anticipation. That makes sense.
Unless you are an Eeyore or a stress-monger, its a lot of fun to plan a trip, prepare for a party or simply dream big. The trick is that when the actual “moment” arrives, you’re able to enjoy it for what it is and not for what you had hoped.
Before my family trip to Mexico, I had a pile of terra-cotta pots that were no longer needed.
Terra-cotta is decorative, but I know myself. The pots absorb some of the moisture from the soil and the plants can dry easily.
If I left town for three days and my plants died, I’d feel I had done some heinous injustice to the plant world.
For cactus, however, the light orange containers are preferred by some cacti curators.
A website called “The Fuss Free Zone,” http://goo.gl/XvpHFB, notes that the weight of a terra-cotta container helps if the cactus is top-heavy.
Also with cactus, drainage can be a good thing.
When I offered my extra pots on Facebook, cactus queen Suzi Draper said she’d pick them up. I love when the idea of recycle and reuse really works.
Suzi, by the way, is the lovely gal who invited me over last spring to view her cactus in bloom. This was no ordinary cactus; this was luscious, soft pink cactus that blooms in the darkness. The plant sends out a tropical scent that should be captured and smeared on sheets at luxury hotels. I took a bazillion photographs last year and enjoyed every minute I spent with those plants.
Somewhere during the recent correspondence, likely an act of extortion on my part, we worked out a deal where Suzi grabbed the pots and left me a cactus.
Honestly, I was expecting a cactus pup, a prickly baby that would grow in a six-inch pot until 2020 when it needed a larger container.
I was thrilled and pleased when she left a 16-inch bulbous prickly mound that was about to pop. For weeks, I thought very little about the plant, except to water it when I was around.
When we arrived back from Mexico, filled with profound cactus appreciation, my new prickly friend was about to do it’s thing.
Or was it?
The furry little nobs on the sides of the cactus began to grow, ever so slowly, like a pimple you know is going to pop in two weeks, just in time for prom photos.
Each day I looked and the cactus had changed.
After a few more weeks, the nobs began to elongate each time I looked. I took photos at morning and night, just to prove that the protrusions really did move with the sun. After more days of daily observation, flower heads began to form, taking on a greenish/red tint, and shaped like large asparagus.
Would they pop today, I wondered each day.
Suzi sent additional encouragement and advice, and she warned me to the flowers would bloom at night.
One busy day, I woke up and the flowers had the audacity to open without me. Twenty one blooms.
If I had known, I would have found a way to add “watching flowers” to my time card at work.
During an early lunch break I dashed back home and decided to drink in the fragrance and watch a fat carpenter bee do the same.
As for the scent, the closest description I can think of would be plumeria (a tropical flower that grows in Hawaii, http://goo.gl/R96sUI).
As luck would have it, the plant was willing to extend the show. Five buds remained that night. Some time about midnight, I checked for the umpteenth time, and the five blooms were dancing in the moonlight. More furious flash photography ensued.
Even after the show ended, I checked several times each evening as the long “stems” of the flowers faded, finally turning to flaccid stalks that draped over the side of the terra-cotta container delivered by Suzi.
The flowers may have only bloomed for one day, but this plant entertained me for at least a week.
To entertain yourself with photos, check out my Pinterest photo spread. Note, I’m not sure if I have the correct name of the cactus: http://goo.gl/GRFQ71
Some care and feeding
The newspaper, Arizona Central, has an advice column online: http://goo.gl/rmRW9P
The writer recommended morning sun, with protection in the afternoon.
Suzi, to whom I am incredibly thankful, says she adds some cactus fertilizer, including calcium, about every three months.
For more inane prattle, check out my blog at www.norcalblogs.com/sowthere. Other contacts, @HeatherHacking on Twitter and Facebook.