Tuesday, September 5, 2023


Auntie Reg has been caring for her family Night Blooming Cereus for over 20 years.  In all that time, the plant had never flowered.  The last bloom had been in 2000 in it's previous location.  After my plant started blooming a few years ago, she brought hers over here in hopes it would be happier and finally bloom as well.

I looked back through the blog to find a post to link with the story about one of my bloom(s) and can't find a single reference.  I know I've taken tons of pictures of them over the years and I think it started blooming before I got lazy with the blog, so I'm stumped.  I enjoyed looking back for a bit though and I encourage you to do that some time.

Back to the present, Reg's plant has been here for at least three, maybe four years now.  No blooms.  It's big and gangly and paired with my similar sized plant, takes up an incredible amount of room indoors throughout the winter.  I told her it needed to go back to her home this fall.

I have a huge ornamental orange (that was supposed to be a lemon) tree that I've carried with me for over 30 years.  At about year 20, both Tim and I were getting pretty weary.  We thought it was Really Big.  As we carried it out that spring, I told Tim I was going to leave it out and let it pass with the first hard frost in the fall.

After over 20 years of never even a hint of a bloom (or any other redeeming quality other than just being a tree...which is really enough if you aren't having to be carried in and out on a shipping dolly) it panicked and by mid summer was covered in blooms and has been blooming and producing oranges ever since.  It's now almost 9' tall and we know now what Really Big really is.

Back to the flower, about two weeks ago I noticed a tiny bud forming on one of the leaves!  After all these years!  Apparently plants don't need to be talked nice to.  They need threatening.  I maybe should have tried that with my pumpkins.

We watched it grow and I built elaborate fences around the front of the Wool House to try to keep naughty chickens, pillaging sheep, clumsy cats and excitable dogs from breaking it off.  Then a fluke storm blew through and sent it crashing to the ground.  Miraculously it survived.

Bloom day!  What starts as a tiny bud grows into a huge bud about the size of a fist and it hangs down about six inches from the leaf.  The bloom will start opening as night falls and continues to open for several hours.  We made a party out of it :-D.

The weather was perfect and a small fire kept us comfortable and entertained between flower checks.  20 and Pip joined us :-).  

I've seen quite a few blooms now, but they never fail to amaze.  And the fragrance!  The white above the flower is not part of it.  That's a scrap of wool felt used to pad a branch I'd tied up to keep it from interfering with the bloom.

As the bats flew out I brought Stellaluna out to join them (bottom left).

We all watched the flower and the still almost full blue super moon and listened to the night bugs and a tiny screech owl and the fire crackling and it was just a fantastic night.

20 made sure Archie didn't do anything stupid.

Pip enjoyed getting a closer look.

And one last August fog rolled in just before midnight.



Far Side of Fifty said...

It was a beauty, glad you made it a party!

Michelle said...

What a story! No laziness in THIS post.

Terry and Linda said...

WOW! What a wonderful and exciting story! Reading this made me feel like I was right there with you.

janejmtl said...

Great story and pictures! The night-blooming cereus is such a beautiful flower...and so mysterious, too. When did it finally close up?
As for the orange tree, is it outside all year now?

Anonymous said...

I do believe your homestead is magical! 💖 K. Littrell

thecrazysheeplady said...

It stayed open a really long time! At least until lunch and then it started closing slowly. This plant is not related to mine and could very well be a slightly different variety. The only other thing we could think of was it got extra water this year. My plant is usually done by mid morning.

Shirley said...

What a lovely flower! I do remember you posting about one years ago but don't remember when. What a perfect night for a party with good company. :0)

Cheryl West said...

How beautiful. It was a real gift after all the years you had to wait.

You need an orangerie for such a tall tree. How wonderful it has finally given you fruit.

I have two aralia plants over 50 years old. My greatest success.

Helen Mathey-Horn said...

My mom had a Christmas cactus she 'babied' for years but never bloomed...she threatened to toss is (it was huge) and next thing she knew is BLOOMED. Yes threats work. She also then worked out a way to keep the indoor lights from stopping the triggering of blooms (needed long nights and room light would mess it up).


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