I’ve read the articles on the science of forcing your Christmas cactus to bloom in time for Christmas. A simple schedule of watering and then purposely neglecting to do so within certain time frames will, they tell me, insure that it buds right on time. I’ve considered doing this (hence the fact that I was reading the articles in the first place), but since making sure my houseplants actually get watered at all seems to be enough of a challenge at this point in my life, I’ve never quite gotten around to it.
All that to say that I can take absolutely no credit for the fact that my Christmas cactus has always bloomed on time for the three years its been in my care. This year was no exception, and happily, the blooms have lasted well into January, which is why you’re seeing them now.
They’re a welcome bright spot in our living room, especially now that the Christmas tree has (finally) been hauled out to the fire pit leaving the room feeling spacious again but rather blank. Each of those exotic blooms, meant to thrive in some much warmer climate, amazes me as it opens up to the winter sun slanting sparingly through the south-facing windows. Outside, the wind is whistling fiercely around the house and the skies have been nothing but one endless blank canvas of overcast gray lately—but then there they are, smiling at me across the room in all their pink and fuchsia glory, slender buds suddenly bursting forth with news of joy and color and life. There’s something about tropical flowers growing right in the dead of winter that bring refreshment to my soul in a way that my summer garden flowers don’t. They make me think of this verse in Proverbs:
“Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” (Proverbs 25:25)
Even if the good news is only that not all flowers must wait until spring to bloom. May they refresh your soul today, too!