A Thanksgiving Cactus By Any Other Name Would Bloom as Bright

Happy Thanksgiving! It’s a day full of cooking and Thanksgiving cactus. I think I’ve seen a few dozen photos of humungous once on my succulent feeds lately.

Pink and cream Thanksgiving cactus.

I have 4 of them myself. They are different from Christmas cactus because the leaves have several points on the end. Christmas cactus are smoother- and harder to find in my experience.

Bright pink Thanksgiving cactus.

I don’t have to do much special to get them to bloom, although they bloom more prolifically if they spend a few weeks in the poinsettia bloom-forcing closet. They sometimes rebloom in spring under those lights. They like equinox length days.

Red Thanksgiving cactus bud.

Christmas cactus and Thanksgiving cactus are clearly close kin. Siblings. Cousins to these two holiday bloomers are Easter and Orchid cactus. They are similar in that they grow in trees (epiphytes) and are fed by rain and the debris it provides.

Furry leaf tips on my Easter cactus.

I have had my Easter cactus a few years and it didn’t rebloom until I hung it in a planter from my outside plant hanger. It bloomed in June in the high desert without much water.

Easter cactus reblooming last summer.

Anyway, it almost looks furry at the joints. And the flowers look more like daisies to me.

Orchid cactus bloom.

My orchid cactus bloomed for the first time this year. (I started it as a cutting 2 years ago.) It tried to bud in August, but it shriveled. It budded again in September and bloomed after freeze in my kitchen.

Orchid cactus foliage (much larger than its colorful cousins).

My only recipe for success is summer outside in the brilliant Colorado high desert. And, the bloom closet for the holiday cactus. Honestly, they are kind of plain most of the year, but the bright blooms seem to make them worth the wait.

Do you have a Thanksgiving cactus? What is your favorite color?

The Strangest Flower Ever!

Lifesavers. You know the little addictive, brightly colored circle candy? Well, when I saw this odd flower with the name Lifesaver cactus, I just had to get one. I ordered online in August and put it in a south window. It’s near my purple LED boost light, too.

I can’t decide if it’s pretty or weird. It reminds me of Saguaro cactus blooms- the weird wax look.

Then, I got to thinking about some of my other cactus blooms this summer. I was so busy chasing daylilies that I likely didn’t post many of these.

Yucca bloom after a wet spring in my yard.

Pincushion Cactus flower.

White Desert Rose bloom.

Easter Lily Cactus bloom.

Rebloom on my Easter Cactus.

Thanksgiving Cactus bloom.

Orchid Cactus bloom.

Cactus flowers are stunning things. There reproductive parts look like a universe in and of themselves. Or, a chorus of ballet dancers. They don’t ever last long. Maybe longer than a daylily. Or, not. But, I have to admit, I’ve never seen anything quite like this Lifesaver bloom.

Lifesaver Cactus

I’m hopeful that I’ll see more cactus and succulent flowers this winter while the daylilies reat.

SAD: Succulent Addictive Disorder

The days are about to get colder and darker. We are back in severe drought in my corner of Colorado. The wet spring was nice, but gone once our monsoon season was mediocre. I did put leaf mulch on my daylilies and started winter watering last weekend.

My echeveria after the sprinkler hit it last month.

I have thyroid disease and so time changes/dark days are difficult for me. Full spectrum light can help. I believe my mix of full spectrum, flourscent and purple plant lights help. I also think living in an indoor forest boosts positive energy. Something is always coming into bloom. Right now, it’s my vanda orchid, azalea, poinsettias and begonia. The Thanksgiving cactus aren’t for off. January/February will bring the orchids.

One of my poinsettias coming into bloom.

Speaking of orchids – I have over 40. They fill two rooms. They were what got my through some tough times, working at home fulltime (isolation) and separation from family. Now, I work long weeks away from home. Orchids are hard to keep up with . . . There are too many. And, my environment is nothing like their natural habitat.

One of my new orchid pots.

I’ve spent a horrific amount of money the last two months. I converted the orchids back to wood chips (from water), because that doesn’t require as much work. But, I needed several new orchid pots.

Red bromeliad – a mail order neo from Florida.

Then came the shift to air plants, succulents, and bromeliads. I gave away plants that didn’t fit the new theme. I bought new plants to create my new reality. The house feels a little different, more fun. More creative. My bank account . . . Hmmm.

My new succulent pot with crassela, aloe, miniature sansevieria, and others.

Yesterday, I played with succulent containers. It was my Saturday escape. I got 3 kinds of crassela, a reddish sempervivum, an aloe, a miniature sansevieria, a turquoise one with teardrop leaves – need ID. I used an outdoor pot whose plant had died.

Fountain converted into home for succulents and an air plant. I want to paint the frog green.

I added a couple of new succulents to the two converted fountains that I started using for succulents.

My Toki Dokie bird fountain converted to a succulent garden.

I felt pretty awful yesterday. Mostly tired, I just wanted to sleep. But, despite wondering what I was doing shopping for succulents when I felt so poorly, it turned my energy around.

Air plants hang from baskets in my kitchen window.

Creativity is a strength. It’s my top one. I have an appreciation of nature/beauty strength and curiosity in my top 5 strengths. Bringing those out really helped.

My new red desert rose plant.

I’m way over budget and out of light for more plants. I need to find other outlets for these strengths. I’ve thought of painting succulents. I love painting daylilies. Still, my art cove feels a little isolated. I’ll figure something out between winter watering my daylilies. In the mean time, I’ll live with my SAD: succulent addictive disorder.

PS, I’m considering at Etsy sales page once I have enough cuttings.

Kokedama Succulents for Christmas

Last Christmas, I shared my project on making succulent kokedama to decorate my 6 foot pencil cactus. It’s getting down to 19 degrees tonight, and my houseplants take over my thoughts.

Kokedama succulent ornaments

My kokedama tree spent the summer outside on the porch. Most of the original succulents had to be replaced once or twice before spring. I would call it trial and error growing them into kokedama during the winter.

Kokedama succulent ornaments

Spring came, and they thrived (despite me being too busy with daylilies to keep up with their watering).

Kokedama succulent ornaments

I think I have around 18 now. Most came from Home Depot. I’m thinking I’ll get ribbons or bows for them for Christmas.

Kokedama succulent ornaments

The challenge is that the pencil tree sits along a wall with no plugs. I do boost light from a few feet away, but can’t really hang lights on the tree.

Kokedama succulent ornaments

I love succulents because of their wide array of leaf colors/ shapes and ease of care. The kokedama only need to take a swim every 2-4 weeks.

Kokedama succulent ornaments

I’ll try to post an update after I decorate them. In the meantime, stay warm.

Kokedama succulent ornaments

The Last of August

I’m sitting in my tent, dosed in natural melatonin. There is cool air . . . It feels nice. Desert camping was hot all but about 2 hours a night. It will get down to 50 or so tonight. Good sleeping weather.

Purple Grasshopper 8.31

This shift also means only 3 blooms today. Honestly, it is a little bit nice to not have a million photos to take. But, I already miss the excitement of checking the garden for Premieres.

Frans Hals 8.31

Today brought travel to the 4-corners region. If you know Colorado, you know that means a drive over the San Juan Mountains. 10 k feet above sea level.

Ruby Stella 8.31

The largest city in the area is Durango and I wanted to see if their nursery had any nice succulents or air plants. The best route is over Red Mountain pass, which is high, curvy and no guard rail. I got vertigo and was sick for 2 days last time I drove it, so I take the longer route now. Adds an hour but oh well. I use to drive Red Mountain in chains in a blizzard at night. Those days are gone.

Animas River 8.31

So, I ended up with 2 bromeliads – one in bloom and one with 2 pups. I also got a small red desert rose (succulent) and another cool succulent. I was thinking of what I read about not having too much variety. The bromeliads are the same family as air plants so they bring familiar features.

My new baby red Desert Rose 8.31

I want air plants and succulents/cactus to be my core plants. The other major groups I’ll keep are orchids, begonias, poinsettias, amaryllis, calathea, African violets. I have a few others, but I’m giving a lot of miscellaneous plants away. Since you can decorate most plants with air plants, that should help blend things in together.

My white Desert Rose in bloom – taken a few days ago.

I have my new plantlets in the hatch covered by a blanket. The bromeliads are far from their natural habitat. The succulents won’t care. No clue what I’m doing tomorrow. It’s a nice problem to have.

Drip, Drip, Drip

The weekend draws to a close and my to-do list for yard stuff didn’t get as short as I hoped. I haven’t done 8-5 x 5 days a week (away from home) in nearly 20 years. I feel it every day.

Cripple Creek 8.25

I spent the morning watching orchids and (other than a haircut and a grocery run) spent the afternoon finishing up the new drip system for the front garden.

Purple Grasshopper 8.25

It works, although I had to crank the pressure up. And the drip tube doesn’t fit very tightly on the timer, so it drips. It’s not auto, though, so I can set it for an hour or two, then shut the valve off. But, it could drip for a bit and be ok.

Purple Corn Dancer 8/25

I think that’s why the poinsettias stopped growing. I watered a lot more last year when I was home. The sprinklers just don’t get deep enough. Hoping for a growth spurt before freeze. We have maybe a month.

Frans Hals 8.25

My knees hurt from being on the pavement so much. And, I don’t want to get as exhausted as last week.

Ruby Stella 8.25

I teach Pharmacology at 8 AM. I guess it’s drip, drip, drip with students, too.

Momma’s Bouquet

My mom would be 102 years old this day.  That makes me sound older than I am.  Mom waited to have kids.  It is also the anniversary of the job offer for my current job.  This job is a great match for my strengths, but not for my senior energy.  I am likely too liberal minded to be an early morning person – my coworkers do much better.  Yes, circadian rhythm does relate to our liberal vs conservative brain.  I am middle-of-the-road, slightly liberal.  And, yea, political views are only one small part of how this part of our brain impacts our work.  Liberals do better starting and ending their days later than conservatives.

FransHals8.24.2.jpg

Frans Hals 8.24

At any rate, I didn’t celebrate today – other than a few more air plants.  My yard looks neglected.  I worked all summer and camped every other weekend.  I have been keeping up with daylily photos (sort of), but not much else.

PurpleCornDancer8.24.2.jpg

Purple Corn Dancer 8.24

Today’s chore was installing a drip system in the front garden.  Daylilies, squash, poinsettias – they get too dry.  When I worked from home, I could run out and water.  Don’t get me wrong – I am glad to be less isolated.  But, my yard suffers especially when summer isn’t a pause.

Carlotta8.24.1.jpg

Carlotta 8.24

I went to the nursery for a plant for a coworker – a surprise.  I grabbed a couple of air plants – my new addiction.  I like them because they are small and less needy than my orchids.  I was into water culture orchids – but with not being home, it is hard to keep up with all the water changes.  The air plants are small – and I plan to get more into succulents as my current plants thin.

PurpleThunderbird8.24.1.jpg

Purple Thunderbird 8.24

So, the coleus were half price – I have some in with my daylilies that are on the side of the driveway but not in all the pots.  So, I grabbed 3 of those.  They are actually nice companion plants for daylilies.  I got some fall colors.  Then, of course, I have to decide if I bring them in when it gets cold. Probably – one big pot.  I can take cuttings and replant outside next spring.  Sure . . . if I have time.

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Navajo Curls 8.24

Putting in the drip system meant giving the daylilies a haircut.  I cut a lot of stuff back – like those blue bells.  I have about 27 drippers in and 17 to go.  For now, I need to this sleep, precious sleep.  Goodnight, momma.  I lost you too young and miss you every day.

PurpleGrasshopper8.24.1.jpg

Purple Grasshopper 8.24

Oh, BTW – I tried the block editor for WordPress on Internet Explorer – It was awful! A few more days of testing S mode before I likely go to regular Windows 10.

RubyStella8.24.1.jpg

Ruby Stella 8.24

One last note – the featured photo is from earlier this year.  Catherine Irene – the same name as my mom.

Tired

It’s crazy – I had 13 cultivators in bloom today. Hello . . . It’s August 20th. The weather is now acting like desert weather. Hot and dry. It was in the 90s today.

Purple Corn Dancer 8.20

It’s been a year tomorrow since my surgery. After that, I could not be in the sun for a few months, so the blog just stopped . . . Until the poinsettias bloomed. I only had Purple Corn Dancer in bloom, anyway. Healing was a journey.

Purple Thunderbird 8.20

I never know what to think this time of year. Tired of the heat but dreading the cold, dark seasons ahead. Tired of my camera but don’t want to miss the late bloomers. Hate to see camping season end but ready for some mellow hikes around home. I think my daylilies are in a similar place with life right now – still blooming but longing for a rest.

Cripple Creek 8.20

PS – I ordered my new 2 in one laptop. My old one was tired, too.

Shape Shifter 8.20

Purple Grasshopper 8.20

Indian Sky 8.20

Orange Flurry 8.20

El Desperado 8.20

Chaco Canyon 8.20

Coberg Fright Wig 8.20

Ruby Stella 8.20

Frans Hals 8.20

Chaos and Routine

The school year feels like it has started. The new faculty are awesome. Eventually, the routine will settle in, but the chaos takes time to run its course.

Indian Sky 8.19

And, as that happens, the daylilies thin. I have maybe 18 cultivators with buds. Probably about 100 buds. It’s hot, some of them are too thirsty. I lost a few this week.

Shape Shifter 8.19

I start to think about fall chores. Should I put a drip system in the front garden? I need to fix some things in the Southwest garden.

Purple Grasshopper 8.19

By the time the final grades come in, we will be talking about Santa Claus. And, my poor poinsettias. Why aren’t they growing faster. I usually start forcing the first ones about now. I have 2 of 6 that are blooming size. Maybe I need to up their water? Why did 2 grow big?

Frans Hals 8.19

And, my amaryllis have bloomed more this summer than last winter. I had 4 blooms this summer, though my seeds haven’t sprouted.

Navajo Curls 8.19

Fall and winter start to occupy my mind. Air plant decorating . . . They look cool in with cactus, which gives me all sorts of ideas.

Cripple Creek 8.19

For now, I need to focus on this week. Looks like I need a new computer. Sigh. I’m hoping Santa can still afford to bring me a new camera for Christmas.

Heirloom Heaven 8.19