We have a Christmas cactus in our house. Maybe you do, too.
Ours came from my Grandmother Lehmer, a small cutting at first but now a full, beautiful plant. I learned recently that my grandmother got her plant in similar fashion from one of my grandfather’s relatives. Apparently lots of people do this, passing on slips of Christmas cacti through the generations.
While it’s great to have family treasures from previous generations, there’s something special about passing on living things like plants. We also have peonies at our house that came from my mother-in-law’s yard many years ago. I regret not claiming some of her hostas as well.
We once bought a house in an older area of Council Bluffs, Iowa, that had a professionally landscaped yard. Before moving out, the previous owner took plenty of cuttings and plants with her to her new residence, nevertheless leaving a lush, leafy legacy for our enjoyment. Another regret: we left it all behind when we left town.
In these tumultuous times, when many of us face a perilous financial future, consider sharing some of your botanical bounty with friends and relatives at gift time. The cost is minimal and the rewards are great. That’s a solid ROI for anyone.
Larry Lehmer is a personal historian who helps people preserve their family histories. To learn more, visit his web site, send him an e-mail or follow him on Twitter.
Photo: The Lehmer family Christmas cactus in bloom in 1989. This finicky plant would prefer a colder, darker room than we can provide. (Larry Lehmer collection).