THe following picture is of “The Hitler-Cactus”. We call it that for reasons which shall become known. It is a variety of epiphyllum, I don’t know which one, because my old-fella died ten years ago and so it’s hard to ask him right now.
My father got it as a boy, from a botanist who’d been to South America in the 1920s. It was probably already old then. it lived in his house at “5 banbury Road, Hackney, London E9″ in the greenhous in the yard. In 1940 the house was vapourised along with the greenhouse (nobody was hurt, they were all in the Anderson shelter and my father was somewhere in Palestine with the British 9th Army. [Ever heard of that one? It did some interesting things. So did he - he was mentioned in dispatches for "continuing to conduct a malarial-mosquito-survey, while under enemy fire"...] Honestly, if it wasn’t true, you could not make this stuff up…)
All that survived was a frond of leaf, rather lacerated, picked up in the rubble by my grandfather. it survived and regrew, and became the vegetative father of this plant in the picture, which is now about 67 years old, we are not exactly certain.
All my father’s orchids and strange south American climbing thingies, which he’d collected while a boy and a student, perished in the blast, but not this.
Neither this one, nor its “father”, ever flowered for us in London, not once. Nada. Zilch. Zero. not for us, not for my old man.
But in Lancashire, it does this every April (see above!) And we even keep it outside most of the year, and often forget to bring it in before the first frosts in November, by which time it’s got a bit scorched.
There is always hope, comrades. If humble cacti can survive all that leftwing collectivism can try to force upon thinking humans, then we can, indeed ought to, get through what is to come.
I’ve put it on now, because Sean Gabb will miss one of its best flowering-episodes otherwise.
And if socialism finally destroys civilisation, perhaps we will be able to grow this stuff and eat it: it might taste like runner-beans. I will have to do some experiments.