Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

More than a Christmas cactus December 11, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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MY CHRISTMAS CACTUS, snugged into a corner of my dining room, blooms heavy with fuchsia blossoms.

I haven’t figured out how to time the flowering closer to Christmas. Each autumn I move the plant indoors to the dark basement, hoping that buds will form and flowers open late in December. That never happens. By late November buds develop and so I move the plant upstairs into the light and warmth. By Christmas, the cactus is all bloomed out.

Yet, does it matter? What matters is that the showy cactus fills my house with a beauty unmatched. And with a reminder of the maternal grandmother who died 64 years ago on December 1, two months after my birth.

My cactus flourished as a cutting from Grandma Josephine’s Christmas cactus. I don’t know the history of the original cactus, which was passed to my mother. But it’s been the source of many cuttings by family members. A link to the grandmother who died too young at age 49. The woman whom I’ve been told was loving and kind and caring. A lot like my mother, Arlene…

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


16 Responses to “More than a Christmas cactus”

  1. cheryl schrader Says:

    you might have a thanksgiving cactus i just an article about such a thing the other day it is beautiful nonetheless it’s origins make sooo much more aspecial

  2. Norma Says:

    It’s beautiful!!! And the story behind it is so touching.

  3. Jackie Hemmer Says:

    Now THAT is a pretty special Christmas Cactus. My mom’s always blooms around Thanksgiving. I think it needs a new name… The Thanksgiving cactus 🙂

  4. JanBeek Says:

    I love your Christmas cactus photos and the story of its history. Thanks for sharing! Mine is just starting to bloom now. I did not move it from the place above the TV where it sits all year.

  5. Beautiful no matter when they bloom.

  6. Missy’s Crafty Mess Says:

    Beautiful cactus and memories to go with it. We have had a Christmas cactus from my husbands great grandmother for several years and now we have another one from his grandmother! They’re both from the same original plant.

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