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Floral Friday – Xygocactus

xygocactus / christmas cactus / schlumbergera

A plant with many names! To me it will always be Christmas Cactus, because when I was growing up in Canada we had a number of them in the house, and that’s when they bloomed. Here in Australia, though, mine is blooming right now; here, they’re known as xygocactus or Schlumbergera.

This particular plant has a sad history. It was quite small when I bought it years ago, with only a couple of flowers. There were other, bigger plants with more flowers, but I loved the colour of these flowers. It was doing well, getting bigger, more flowers each year — and then I dropped it. Eek! One-third of the plant broke off. Then I overwatered what was left, and the branches started wilting and falling off; another one-third gone. The wet soil was also infested with gnats. And it had terrible light indoors, a choice of blasting direct sun or dim curtained gloom.

xygocactus / christmas cactus / schlumbergera

The poor thing was not a happy plant!

xygocactus / christmas cactus / schlumbergera

So I hauled it out of the pot, removed as much soil as possible, repotted it into a larger pot with a more gravelly soil to increase drainage, and used the old cider/sugar/dishsoap traps to kill the gnats. And it began to improve, hurrah! What it liked best, though, was the move to an apartment with a balcony where it gets bright but not direct light.

xygocactus / christmas cactus / schlumbergera

Now it’s a very happy plant, as you can see in these photos.

xygocactus / christmas cactus / schlumbergera

xygocactus / christmas cactus / schlumbergera

It doesn’t normally get any direct sunlight, but I moved it so these photos wouldn’t be dull and flat.


If you can’t believe this plant was ever in the dire straits described above, have a look at it from 2018. Still bravely flowering, but just look at those pinched, wilted, wrinkled branches.

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Floral Friday – Freckle-face fern flowers

How’s that title for alliteration? 🙂

Some months ago, I bought a small pot with a mix of little ferns. They’re not so little any more and I’ve had to repot them! I was very surprised to notice that the freckle-face ferns are sporting tiny flowers — purple, as in these photos, but also white on other plants. I had no idea that ferns had flowers!

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Floral Friday – planters in the city

Mobile gardens.

I always know when summer officially arrives in Sydney — it’s when these planters magically appear overnight! The city is full of them, metal squares stuffed with plants in pots. Instant gardens pop up on streets everywhere. The plants don’t last the whole summer, so one day I’ll come along and completely new fresh plants have appeared. Though I’m not sure about what appears to be decorative cabbage in the planter above …

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Floral Friday – Epiphyllum (?)


I saw a group of these plants in November as part of an event called Sydney Open, one weekend when people can go into buildings that are usually off-limits to the public. (I think Open House London is similar.) The plants were in tubs on the roof of a bank. The leaf sort of reminds me of ‘Christmas Cactus’ (Schlumbergera, Xygocactus) but on steroids — those leaves were half a metre long. And the flowers don’t look like any Christmas Cactus I’ve ever seen.

Pretty, though! And some online searching reveals they might be “Epiphyllum”.

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Floral Friday – Azalea with water drops

When I attended a gardens festival in the Blue Mountains in October (spring), it rained very heavily on the Saturday I went up. On the Sunday, when I visited the gardens, the weather was bright but chilly — perfect for photos of flowers still bedecked with water drops!

(Also posted as part of Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere challenge)

Floral Friday Fotos: Backlit

It’s a wet and gloomy weekend in Sydney. I needed cheering up, so here are some images of flowers that glow in the light. Although it’s Saturday here, it’s still Friday in North America, so I figure I can sneak these into Floral Friday Fotos.

My neighbour's windowbox geraniums backlit by the early morning sun. Today, alas, the ocean is just a grey murk.

My neighbour’s windowbox geraniums backlit by the early morning sun. Today, alas, that dazzling ocean is no more than a grey murk.

Petunias backlit by early evening sun.

Petunias backlit by early evening sun.

A bit of a cheat in that there are no flowers on this cactus, but it is certainly backlit!

A bit of a cheat in that there are no flowers on this cactus, but it is certainly backlit!

Hibiscus on a shelf, backlit by a lamp.

Hibiscus on a shelf, backlit by a lamp.

Another hibiscus -- really! You can buy jars of candied wild hibiscus to put into your glass of bubbly. They are edible, but between us, they look better than they taste.

Another hibiscus — really! You can buy jars of candied wild hibiscus to put into your glass of bubbly. They are edible, but between us, they look better than they taste.

Flower Focus 2

I’ve been going a bit mad with flower photos on the new camera, and wondering what to do with them all. Then I discovered Floral Friday Fotos! Sorted.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.

Hibiscus backlit by the setting sun.

Hibiscus backlit by the setting sun.

Hot pink bougainvillea in glorious sunshine.

Hot pink bougainvillea in glorious sunshine.

The scent from the lilies was intoxicating at 1cm macro distance.

The scent from the lilies was intoxicating at 1cm macro distance.

In the heart of a peony.

In the heart of a peony.

An orange-flowering creeper, against an extremely blurred red bougainvillea.

An orange-flowering creeper, against an extremely blurred red bougainvillea.