Between our small porch and the sidewalk lies a tiny plot ground. Here, in the spring, I clean out the little pond and drop in the goldfish. Then I may plant a few coleus or petunias to go along with the yellow iris and hang up the hummingbird feeder and a large ugly thing, that possibly looks like a Christmas Cactus on steroids. It's huge.
A few weeks later the overgrown patch of yellow iris spring into bloom. About that time I surgically remove all the half dried up arms of "The Thing" . It has been hiding in the basement all winter, away from the critical eyes of Mrs. T, who cares for it naught.
By early July it looks much greener and begins to sprout little buds which quickly grow and begin to open by mid July.
Even Mrs. T admits it’s gorgeous (albeit for "only 2 weeks out of the year”.) Neighbors and strangers stop by on the street and "ask what is it?" "Well, I say, it was a gift years ago from Mary Ann, but I've forgotten the name. I just call it my giant Christmas Cactus." Then I shrug my shoulders.
Maybe you know??? I got more comments that ever before on my question and finally someone had the answer.http://www.kentucky.com/2014/03/21/3153756/orchid-cacti-are-easy-to-grow.html
"This is an Epiphyllum or orchid cactus."
Then I recieved an email from the original source, who now lives far away in retirement, in the North Country.
"Your information and photos were of great interest. The mystery plant is an orchid cactus. I have two -one has pink flowers and the other has red. They are gorgeous flowers and I have used photos on cards."
Mystery solved! Thanks Mary Ann.
There is an interesting follow-up to this story which begins with the fact that I began to successfully take cuttings and propagate this gorgeous plant to hang on the porch. Eventually in a clearing out downsizing mood I began to learn how to sell items on Craigs List. This included one large extra Orchid Cactus. Having no idea as to its value I put $30 on the item. To my utter and complete surprise a woman from nearby Rochester came to purchase it. Even more surprising was when she told me she had one for years from her mother, had left it in the care of her daughter while wintering in Arizona and came back to Minnesota to find it dead. “I’ve never been able to find another one” she said and then began to cry…..