Monday, May 14, 2012

I find it hard to resist a bargain

Which is why, whenever I visit a garden centre, my wandering feet always take me to the sales / salvage / rescue me (take your pick) section to search amongst the unloved - and often unlovely - plants that are deemed no longer fit for display.  The chance to buy something I actually want for the garden at a far more affordable price is the motivation - though the challenge of bringing them back to health is very satisfying.  The risk that they've gone too far to be resuscitated is always present but I've killed enough full price plants to be past worrying about that.

This time two just past their sell by date Christmas cacti, Schlumbergera x buckleyi, found their way into the basket.  For the princely sum of £2.54 I now have a red and pink flowered example of this lovely epiphytic cactus.  Here they are:

Why are they in flower in May rather than November - December?  Because the growers have artificially manipulated the daylength to less than 11 hours to induce bud formation for sale outside the normal winter flowering season.  It's a common tactic - one reason why you can buy spring flowering poinsettia for Christmas and pot chrysanthemums all year round rather than just in their autumn season.

I've popped them into a single hanging basket in my little shade house.  In the moist but well drained compost they need they should grow quite happily in the dappled light, adding more of the flat stem segments and, come the cooler nights and shorter days of autumn, develop new buds ready for indoor flowering during the dark days of the end of the year.

I last grew them 30+ years ago, when gardening was confined to the inside of a series of rented flats.  My last ones ended up at one of the schools I taught in.  We were moving yet again and didn't have the room.  For some reason I never grew them again, despite their ease of cultivation.  Time to remedy that.  And, I find it hard to resist a bargain.

No comments:

Post a Comment