The Most Beautiful Blossom I’ve Ever Seen
I grow – or have grown – just about every flower that will survive in this climate. I like them all. But recently I got a blossom on a desert cactus that absolutely knocked my socks off. It was the most beautiful flower blossom I have ever seen.
By 10 am the next day this blossom had closed up - for good.
For several years I have been growing the night-blooming cereus as a houseplant from a rooted cutting that was given to me by Jean Sibley, of Etna, NH. She told me it rarely blooms, and then only for one night. But that it was worth growing, and worth waiting for. She was right.
A few days ago I noticed the buds. Each was hanging down from one of its thick, leathery leaves. The buds were 6 inches long on stems 8 inches long. The outer petals were a medium-light pink.
Flower bud is lovely, too.
I have to admit I had abused this plant. It was in the guest room all winter, but didn’t go outside when other plants did. So it didn’t get watered for at least a couple of months. Maybe more. Then I found it, watered it, put it outside in a shady location on the north-facing deck. Two months later, it blossomed.
So one night I went out to look for the cat, and there it was: a giant blossom! It was almost 10 inches wide, there were 3 layers of petals perfectly spaced, and the interior was amazing. Many pollen-bearing stamens, and a female pistil shaped like an octopus.
The night-blooming cereus is highly fragrant. Some say it is a lily smell, others say just “floral”. Me? I burst out laughing. It smelled like the brand of toilet bowl cleaner I use.
I sat out on the deck with my cereus under a full moon. The moon slipped behind clouds, acting like a spotlight when it appeared. I put on Bach’s Goldberg Variations played by Glenn Gould, and toasted this amazing flower with a glass of wine. The cat came back, but was not impressed. I still am.
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