Christmas cactus

A Christmas Cactus produces vibrant-colored flowers twice the size of its leaves.

This article is the first in a series about the study of plants known as botany for gardeners. It starts with a story about a wonderful acquaintance (whose second ever quilt won a $10,000 prize, but that is another story). As a toddler-aged child in war torn Germany, my friend often played in the gardens of a convent while her mother was meeting with nuns who sewed clothing for the family. One nun in particular, Sister Maria, would catch her in the garden pulling up seedling plants, peering at the broken stems. When the nun asked what she was doing, the child answered, “I am looking for the colors.” She thought the flower colors must be locked inside the stems, waiting to come out, she explained.

Sister Maria was an artist who designed charming postcards popular throughout Germany. She used the child as a model depicting her picking and dismantling the flowers on one of her postcards. Sister Maria actually was Sister Maria Hummel, whose designs became the popular ceramic Hummel figures of today. I have seen the postcard of my friend as the child and the actual Hummel figurine based on her.

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