As much as I love my garden and all the plants in it, I’m not quite so keen when it comes to house plants. Having said that we do have a very old Xmas cactus that must be 25 years old if it’s a day and we did have a lovely cyclamen, but that died a couple of years ago, and all my attempts to replace it have ended in failure.

However my pride and joy, for no good reason other than I grew it myself from a seed, was an avocado. I must have sown it about 20 years ago, and to my great surprise and joy it grew into a large and healthy plant.

It stood in a corner of the living room in our old house, and just grew and grew. I thought it was very handsome, not everyone’s cup of tea I know, but I loved it. Eventually it grew so big that I had to tie it to the fireplace to stop it falling over. When we moved out it was just impossible to transport the avocado without cutting it back quite severely.

It never quite recovered. Whereas before it had been an interesting shape with ‘branches’ and big, shiny leaves, it was now just a long stick with a few leaves stuck on the top. A very long stick admittedly, but a stick nevertheless. For the first time in it’s life it lived outside during the summer months, but stayed in the conservatory during winter.

It didn’t seem to mind this new regime, but it soon became obvious it was never going to regain it’s former glory. Finally I decided to say ‘goodbye’ to my old friend. When the frosts came I left him outside and he succumbed to the inevitable.

Which brings me back to the Xmas cactus.

For 50 weeks of the year it is not a pretty plant, in fact I keep it more for sentimental reasons than anything else. As I said it is  quite old and gets no special treatment, yet it still flowers for a couple of weeks every year in January without fail.

Because it only flowers for a short period it lives in the conservatory in winter, in the house whilst it’s flowering and outside during the summer. This has worked perfectly well until this year.

I’ve written before about how the extreme cold this winter killed a lot of my over wintering pot plants, and when I eventually came to sort out what I had left I realised the old Xmas cactus had been another casualty.

He looked a real mess. I brought him inside into the warmth of the dining room, watered him and hoped for the best. One thing was certain there wouldn’t be any flowers this January.

I’m pleased to report that from 3 very dead looking stumps we now have new growth emerging and I’m hopeful of a full recovery and flowers next year.

It never ceases to amaze me how resilient some plants are. Here’s to the next 25 years!!