Valley Gardening: Like people, Zygos offer winter blooms under right conditions

Life is good in the neighborhood! I am a year older, and I think I just might start acting my age—not really! Did I have you thinking? What I am thinking….is that I am going to get stronger and speak out as much or more than I have for the past 35 plus years! I honestly feel that there are no guarantees for any of us, so I’m going to do some good TODAY!  I also feel that if you (or me) are going to complain about something in government you have to also speak up. That’s what I’m going to do!

For instance—when the City of Alamosa spends $100,000 on an architectural plan for ‘downtown’ Alamosa and does not include LODA (lower downtown Alamosa) in the plan, I am going to speak up—over and over. In fact, I have already talked to two of my business neighbors and we will be working up a letter requesting some consideration. I have heard about vehicle traffic and parking, and pedestrian traffic, being different between downtown and LODA, but I’m not quite sure I agree with the differences. I think we work just as hard in LODA for our customers as downtown businesses do. I think we pay the same taxes. Maybe it’s because I didn’t go to college to learn how to design and write these plans, that leaves me so confused. Why wouldn’t we want to include LODA in any plan, especially as visitors flying in to our new airport have to drive by this area to get downtown? 

If a visitor was stopping at the Visitor Center, wouldn’t it be great to tell them there are shops and restaurants to the north, AND there is a laundromat, a gas station, a grocery store, two retail shops and a beauty parlor just two blocks to the south—within walking distance! Wouldn’t that be great if all the businesses north and south had the same improvements and were unified? Wouldn’t it be great if the city or someone bought the large lot south of the Visitor Center and turned it into a rest area for tour busses and RV’s? Someone will come up with this idea in 10 years and get all the credit, but try and remember I was thinking it first.

I have been reading about Zygo’s these past few days, also known as Christmas cactus or Thanksgiving cactus or even Schlumbergera, if you want to sound intelligent. They are all the same plant. I have some beautiful ones in right now.

The time of bloom depends on the amount of darkness/daylight. Personally, I am too lazy to manipulate the darkness and prefer that a plant blooms when it wants to. This means the Zygo would more than likely bloom in November. If you want it to bloom later give it at least 13 hours of complete darkness and then put it into bright sunlight, starting the middle of September. Repeat. Nighttime temperatures need to be between 55-65. Sounds like way too much work for me. Zygos should be transplanted every three years or when they get root bound. I usually transplant after the first year, in order to get them in a clay or ceramic pot, as they are usually, hopefully, top heavy with blooms. Do not transplant in to a pot that is too big. If I have a plant in a 4” plastic pot I would recommend planting it in a 6” ceramic pot. 

You need to use a cactus soil that usually has some pumice or larger perlite in it to allow for drainage.  Zygos do not like to sit in water. In talking about potting soil, it reminds me that….going out to the ditch bank and digging some sand is NOT the same as a good, quality cactus soil! It just isn’t! I might lie about some things (joke), but I wouldn’t lie about soil because it all starts with the soil. It’s why I cry/cringe, when I see what the folks out on south Craft are going to deal with when trying to get their lawns to grow. Go with raised beds folks, get out of that nasty existing soil. No amount of topsoil is going to cure the stuff you are dealing with.

In the spirit of Christmas, I have a few blue bulbs available for folks that want to honor Gary Stephens and his wish that we remember those who serve and protect us during the holiday season (and throughout the year). Gary’s daughter, Nancy, brought me in a number of blue bulbs last year and I have 20 still to give out. Thank you Nancy for allowing me to honor your Dad—such a wonderful man he was.  I’m proud that we have had a blue bulb burning at the Green Spot this entire year. And, my husband just bought me a large flagpole for the US flag, and a flag with the Blue Line will fly right below it.