This lovely zygo cactus has been with me for probably eighteen years now, since my son asked me to look after it while he was tripping overseas. But I've followed its life for much longer.
I remember when it belonged to my favourite Aunt Edith, a wonderfully artistic woman who made hats and the most exquisite clothing. She trained as a milliner as a young girl when hats were absolute confections, made individually and with great skill.
My own mother and Edie were always great friends. Edie gave her the zygo about 1980 and soon after moved to Perth where she died in 1998 at the age of 90 years.
The plant remained close to Mum's heart and she even took it to the nursing home in the late 1980s where she tended it with loving care, even though very ill.
She had a small stand of pot plants outside her bedroom, and the zygo was there too. Most days the home gardener would bring her a small can of water and Mum would struggle, breathing heavily, to a chair placed nearby the plants.
In between many rests she would inspect her pots, remove any stray weed or dead flower, and douse them with water.
It was one huge effort.
Poor Mum died a sad death in 1988 and my son Geoff asked if he could have the zygo in her memory. He loves plants as much as she did.
I remember it was in a white ceramic pot then. Geoff took it to his digs where he worked for the Department of Agriculture at a research facility, so it thrived.
I think it was late in 1991 that Geoff asked me to look after our zygo while he tripped overseas, as many young Australians do as a sort of rite of passage. I've had it ever since.
The zygo is more than double in size than when I first saw it. Every year since it's been in my possession it has flowered right on Geoff's birthday - May 27. It was as though a dependable gift.
This year though there were no flowers on the zygo on May 27. I hoped that this little ritual would not be broken, but I needed to wait two full weeks before the first bud burst into a pink bloom.
I wonder if climate change had something to do with this late coming?
How is climate change affecting the environment around you?