Sunday, May 24, 2009

It Feels Like I'm Having A Baby — Only It's A Cactus


A very long time ago (so long, in fact, that I don’t remember when — maybe before the dawn of time), Girly of Whirly bought me a trio of cacti to grace the study windowsill. That they subsequently doubled up as Items Of Torture Equipment For When I’d Been Bad is another matter entirely. All you need to know is, three cacti.


Cactus #1 is my most successful specimen ever. If it was out there in its natural habitat, it could keep a family of priarie dogs alive and well for a fortnight and a half. As a bonus, it has spikes like the beard of a benevolent dwarf, which I regularly shave into artsy curves.

Cactus #2 died. It was rubbish. Long and thin like a cucumber, it fell prey to Geoff’s curiosity one Sunday morning behind the curtains and never recovered. R.I.P.*

*Rubbish; Incredibly Prickly

So what’s the big deal? I hear you whimper. Those are the only options for all living creatures, aren’t they? Life and death?

Cue Cactus #3 — the Undead Spawn from The Pit.

This is one of those little fat ones that seems to serve less purpose than wasps. It’s never been much cop, and even when I transferred it to the greenhouse over the summer, it flourished like a camp Russian folk singer in a redneck bar. I was going to throw it out but I forgot all about it and so it spent the whole winter in the greenhouse, buffeted by wind and rain as December’s cruel fingers tore the panels from the roof. When I came across it at the start of March, its roots had detached from the compost and it was so dried and husky, it might as well have been a miniature oak tree turd. But I knew I had to save it.

As I set it alongside Cactus #1 and New Cactus (#4), Girly of Whirly made some flippant remark about resurrecting the dead, issuing a stern warning that there would be hell to pay if it started stinking the house out. Doomsday scenarios flourished for the next few days like bacteria up a cow’s backside, but then we all got used to the little dried-up ball on the windowsill — until yesterday morning. The compost, it seems, has sprouted weeds, and the cactus itself, tiny flowers. And I’m soooo excited.

Looks like I have a zombie cactus on my hands.

If I go more than a few days without posting, you’ll know it’s impaled me on its spikes.

15 comments:

fairyhedgehog said...

This post wasn't what I envisaged from the title. (I was thinking more of the results of eating an extra-hot curry, say.)

You really need to post some pictures.

JaneyV said...

They are the most amazing plants aren't they? They just thrive on being neglected and ignored like some masochistic dysfunctional neighbour with a history of lousy relationships.

I hope you don't get impaled. And take a picture of the flower - it might be a couple of years before you get another.

Whirlochre said...

Photos? What a good idea. I'll be back with something when it's fully resplendent.

freddie said...

I had the same impression as FHH when I saw the title. I'm glad the cacti have done you no harm, Whirl (as far as I can tell from this post).

McKoala said...

I had the most boring cactus in the world for seven years. Then it flowered. I didn't even know it could. The flower was about three times the size of the cactus. It only lasted a day or two. Then nothing more happend for another seven years...then...yup another flower.

McKoala said...

BTW, was going to start reading for you today, but computer mix up prevented. Tomorrow! It WILL happen.

writtenwyrdd said...

I was going to request pictures but Janey beat me to it.

Neglecting cacti has a tendency to either kill or inspire them. The biggest secret to keeping a cactus happy is to water it very little and to make sure the soil is sandy so it drains all the water immediately. Wet roots will kill it (or at least cause them to rot away, forcing the sturdy stalk to grow more, which sounds like the case with your zombie cactus.)

Robin S. said...

I'd love to see the undead flower producer!

Thought the red words were the link, but no link, right? Or is it just my crap clicking?

Whirlochre said...

Thanks for the cactus tips, dudes.

Photo to follow...

Mary said...

From the title, I too expected a painful post. But lo, such beauty! Looking forward to the photo.

Whirlochre said...

Hooray!

Mary!

As I now discover, there are two flowers.

Clearly some kind of desert thing floral fest.

Cact McEffinpants said...

Touching, to find someone so...gullible.

And now...it is time...to feed...like a Pacman...on an infinity of ellipses...

sylvia said...

Add me to the list of people who wish to see a photo!

Whirlochre said...

Cact Club Digest — The LatestStill advancing into the world with the bravado of a reluctant slug.

Aerin said...

So I subscribe to your comments. I hadn't read the Cactus saga. I saw sylvia say she wanted a photo, too, and I thought - oh, wonder of wonders joy of joys, be still my heart! - that we were going to see a Whirl (fully lit, and I don't mean schnockered) photo.

Harumph.