A tiny schlumbergera with a giant bloom.

Schlumbergera, Christmas Cactus

My first Christmas Cactus was given to me by Mike Skibra when I was seventeen years old.  I had it for at least ten years and watched it outgrow several pots.  Every year but one it flowered.  When I left Boston to head west with my brother and my climbing gear, I gave my schlumbergera away.  I haven’t had another until last year when Maria Somers gave me a few potted plants along with a two-segment piece of a schlumbergera which I potted and placed among the other plants of the front porch.  It has thrived, growing into a rather unbalanced, asymmetrical form.  When I awoke yesterday morning it had flowered, a ridiculously long and narrow bloom.  The sun illuminated the petals making the cluster look like a tiny neon sign.  How could I resist trying to capture that moment?

The sketchbook paper is extremely thin, not well-suited to watercolor.

Sketch: Drawn first with fountain pen filled with black ink followed by washes of watercolor.