His father grew this plant for decades, patiently nuturing, watering, and feeding it a special cactus fertilizer mix. He would baby this plant along for an entire year hoping for a single bloom which would last a single night. I was told many stories about this magnificent bloom and how it would fill the greenhouse with a glorious scent.

Getting a cutting from this precious cactus thrilled him no end. DH read everything he could find about it, badgered asked local garden shops for advice, propped up its leggy forms with my favorite moon trellis, and allowed it to expand and spread as it wished across the sliding patio doorway where it showed its love by presenting us with a mutitude of sparse, angular, lead-gray, twiggy stems. It has resembled nothing more than a dead bush for most of the first few years. What passed for “leaves” looked like elongated versions of a Christmas Cactus plant. Outside of getting more and more leggy, and even more ugly, there was not a sign of a bloom anywhere for six long years. It grabs a LOT of space across that area of the room

A week ago, small buds were visible on several of the vine-like branches. They are very fragile and susceptible to chill, breezes, and perversity. How many would (any?) survive

SEW returned today from an extended bike trip to discover a single perfect bud poised on the threshhold.

Early Bud

Early Bud

Night Blooming Cereus begins to open

Night Blooming Cereus begins to open

Once these suckers decide to hang in and do something, they really go to town! We literally watched the bud open, too mesmerized to collect cameras until it was well and truly open.

Amazing. Gorgeous. Not as fragrant as I thought it would be, but I am assured that the scent wells, builds, and lingers. The bloom is easily seven inches across, possibly larger. The bloom will have faded by the time I leave for work tomorrow morning.

These are native to desert climes. They can grow in hedges in the Southern Texas deserts, but are easily overlooked because –hey– they are boring when not in bloom! And they only bloom when they bleepin’ well want to, typically June-ish. Some bloom every year (once they start that is!) while others go on an every other year cycle.

A time. A season.

Now I’ll never convince him to get rid of the blasted thing!