Joyce's Diary - May 2007
I am sure that I am not the only one whose difficult, cold sensitive, and favourite plants get the sunniest, warmest or best ventilated places in the greenhouse or conservatory, while easy or tolerant plants gradually get pushed to the bottom shelf or the unheated greenhouse where they are neglected, last to be repotted, last to be watered, sometimes just forgotten. It is like school where, if the teacher is not very careful, the brightest, the dullest or the most badly behaved pupils get the most attention in the front seats under the teachers eye, while the quiet, well behaved average child is in danger of blending into the background and being overlooked.
Last Saturday I was doing a talk to a charity coffee morning. I said I would put on a display of plants, talk about them and explain the best way of growing them. Collecting plants to take, I went through the conservatory looking for plants that were eye catching. While there were a few flowers on the Mammillaria, none were spectacular. A few Parodia had flowers and I packed them, as I did a few Astrophytum, Aloes, Haworthia and Dorstenia. From the frost free greenhouse I took a couple of Gymnocalycium, a pan of Lithops, a Reichsteinaria and some Aeonium. Finally I went into the little old cold greenhouse to choose my final plants and was met by an absolute blaze of colours yellow, pink, peach, orange, violet, purple – Yes, you’ve guessed it, the Rebutia family were putting on their annual show. There they were, some so badly in need of repotting that they were bulging over the tops of the pots. Others were bone dry, some even had slug pathways over their tops. All were beautiful with so many flowers that it was difficult to see the neglected plants beneath them. I felt thoroughly ashamed of myself. More than half my eventual display for my talk was made up of Rebutia (now at least watered), and these were the plants that drew the attention of the audience, most of whom had no idea that cacti could produce such spectacular flowers in such a rainbow of colours.
I returned home from a very successful morning resolved to split up, or pot on and generally to take care of these wonderful tolerant plants. I will keep them in the cold greenhouse because they seem to like it there but in future I will give them the respect and attention they deserve.
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