Yes that's right my Schlumbergera - isn't it a great word - it's the genus more commonly known as Christmas cactus. Well it still hasn't flowered, but it's so very close now.
And in case you're wondering Frederic Schlumberger was a leading collector of cacti and grew then at his home near Rouen, and was probably among the first in Europe to cultivate schlumbergera, which were discovered in Brazil and introduced by the Kew collector, Alan Cunningham, in about 1816. So now, you know.
Mine came from my in-laws back in the early 2000s, all the way from East Grinstead so had slightly less exotic beginnings. It's done well to last, but I guess that's the beauty of a succulent it can go for a bit (well actually, quite a bit) without water and then springs back to life after a long old soak. And it didn't seem to mind the building dust when we had all that work done the other year either. Perhaps it thought it'd popped back to Brazil or something...
The buds are tantalisingly close to flowering. I asked in a post before Christmas if you thought I should move it indoors to encourage it to speed up and flower to match its common name. But you thought not, and I tended to agree with you so left it in our colder conservatory, where it was happy. It doesn't seem to have minded at all.
It was also pretty well behaved for its mini photo shoot, which I may just have got a little carried away with.
But isn't nature beautiful and wonderful? Just look at the flower buds, there's no sign they'll be anything different until - bam - the bud is pink instead of green.
Clearly my conservatory is The Place To Be for succulents right now, this one's starting to flower too. I've no idea what type it is - if you can identify it, I'd be happy to know - but it reminds us of our holiday to Italy and the tiny cottage we rented near La Spezia about five years ago, where the garden was full of the most beautiful succulents. I think it was there I really first saw their beauty, but I've not seen this one flower before so it'll be interesting to see what it does.
And finally there's my ever promiscuous Aloe Vera. We bought a tiny plant at a county show in Dorset a good few years back and ever since I've been inundated with baby Veras, or maybe baby Aloes - who knows. I've given them away as much as I can, and even donated some for the church fete one year, but still they come.
This is the original plant, still going strong, still producing. I've another three in the kitchen also producing and still more in the greenhouse which seem to have settled in - it's their second winter out there. And yet I don't seem able to pass over the new plants, or retire the old ones. It's getting to the point where some guerrilla gardening or at least guerrilla gifting may need to take place.
Aloe Vera anyone?