Daily Archives: November 12, 2010

Olivia Walton’s Christmas Cactus

Remember The Waltons tv show? Sure you do. But do you remember “The Homecoming”; the tv movie that was the basis for The Waltons series?  It first aired in 1971, and Patricia Neal was Olivia Walton.

One part of that movie that I’ve always remembered took place when Olivia went into the basement, and was surprised to see her Christmas cactus in bloom. She had previously placed it there and had forgotten about it. I guess with all those children, it would be easy to forget a houseplant. 

I don’t know why that part of the movie has stayed with me all these years,  or why Christmas cacti have been a favorite plant of mine for a very long time.

 And why is cacti such a strange, unnatural sounding word?

I think I know why Christmas cacti seem to do well for me. Last year, as I was buying yet another one, the owner of the greenhouse told me that I should let it dry out completely between waterings. No problem there – my plants are very accustomed to not being watered for long intervals. At least the ones that have survived.  And I am trying to do better by them.

Anyway – a few of my Christmas cacti are now blooming….and it’s still several weeks before Christmas. I think they’re referred to as “holiday cacti” in stores because they bloom anywhere between Halloween and New Year’s.

And even after all these years, when I see one blooming, I think of that Waltons tv movie.

 Sadly, Patricia Neal passed away in August.

“Good night, Olivia”.