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Plant is symbol of the storm

December 1, 2011
By Stephanie Bethke-DeJaeghere , Marshall Independent

I am still experiencing some rare, small victories from this past July storm.

We were lucky that no one lost their life to the storm, but we still have many remaining cleaning up days left after the mess and I see so many trees and buildings that are yet in need of some of our TLC. I have one plant that passed this muster as far as standing up to the storm and remaining strong.

You see, I only heard about the storm coming while I was in Marshall grocery shopping with two of my three children. We looked to the west and decided that any shopping that remained needed to wait and we headed for home.

I made it home just in time to unload the groceries and then to send my children downstairs until the storm had passed.

My houseplants had to tough it out this time around. I did not have enough time to move them to the garage so there they sat in the garden. I did lose a few, but most survived, including one in particular that will forever remain a symbol of the storm. The plant, a Thanksgiving cactus, has been blooming for the past week, in its glorious peachy pink to red colored flowers. I have never seen so many flowers on this plant, ever. This is made ever so much interesting by the fact that it had been tumbled over the ground and just about flew out into the pasture surrounding our farm. The plant, quite literally, grew wings and flew.

I had found it up against the fence line which was its last resting place where it became entangled in old tumbleweeds. This was the plants saving grace. If it had flown any higher, it surely would have been found in two counties over. The plant may have been saved to some degree or another but, of course, was badly beaten up. Generally speaking, Thanksgiving cactus plants or Christmas cactus plants really like to be outdoors for most of the summer months, until it gets cold enough to freeze. I bring them indoors into the basement for a good month and start to water them more regularly. I moved them upstairs and they, in turn, start to set buds and then flower. Especially at this time of the year, it is particularly wonderful to have beautiful, breathtaking flowers to alleviate the changing of the seasons and, in particular, the shorter day length period. The shorter days are what also help the plants to begin to set their buds and bloom each year.

I have had the Thanksgiving cactus for about 10 years, while the other Christmas cactus plants I have had for a little over 15 years. They, too, made it through the storm which was also a wonderful thing because I might have had them for a short time compared to the people who gave me two plants in particular.

They had the Christmas cactus plants for over 60 plus years. The one plant is only a third of the original plant which was dividing among friends. What a wonderful treasure to have. The Christmas cactus plants are now sending out their first buds of the year, getting ready to bloom just before Christmas this year.

It is another Christmas miracle.

For more information on gardening, you can reach me at



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