Friday, December 19, 2008
It all started when my friend Jill called and suggested going to lunch at a favorite TexMex restaurant, Picante's. I said, "Great idea! It's just down the street from ------- Nursery, and I've been meaning to drop by there to see if they have any Christmas cactus."
"Ha! You don't need to do that," she said. "We've got more Christmas cactus than we know what to do with at the greenhouse. Come take some cuttings."
That's a picture of Jill up there at the top, coaxing some babies from a maternity plant. She teaches biology and botany at a local community college, where they have a greenhouse. For many years she and the other biology teachers have had students grow plants from cuttings, and now she was offering to let me do the same from their huge stock.
I felt my heart do a tiny little skip.
"Besides," she added. "Using cuttings instead of buying the plants fits in with your way of doing things."
(Hang on. My way of doing things? What the heck would that be? Cheap? Well okay, maybe I am, but what do I care? Quelle fun!)
So today we drove over there and she turned me loose. All I had to provide were the pots and tray (an excellent way to recycle all those leftovers I had lying around). Here are some pictures from my Very Fine Morning:
O! The plantmanity! Who could stop at just a Christmas cactus when faced with such bounty? So many choices...
I was really taken with all the succulents. I took a lot of photos for upcoming "garden blogger bloom days."
Here I am, looking like I know what I'm doing--which, as it turns out, I do, having been tutored by Jill only moments before. The procedure is simple: cut with a sterilized razor blade, dip the end in rooting hormone, stick it in the potting soil, add water. Easy. As. Pie.
In addition to the specimens I took, there were some already-rooted cuttings remaining from the just-ended school term, summarily abandoned by students whose interest waned once grades were posted. Naturally, I had to save them. It was my duty.
Here they all are, safely tucked away in a kitchen window. There is a Christmas cactus in there somewhere, I swear...