Sunday, September 18, 2016

Beauty Shared

Our friends who rent the lower house, [along with the barn and pasture for their goats] have an interesting collection of plants summering on their front porch.
 On Friday I was alerted that a Night-blooming Cereus was in bud and might open as darkness arrived.
The bud remained closed--but I had a pleasant evening sitting in the dusk, hearing the hoot of a distant owl and the rusty chirping of crickets.

Saturday afternoon brought early nightfall after fierce intermittent rain.
I contemplated pulling on my boots and crunching down the lane to check on the plant, although I knew my friends would be out early in the evening.
I had about decided I didn't want to brave the drizzle when B. phoned to report they had returned home and found the cereus opening her petals.

I collected jacket, camera and flashlight, made my way down the lane and across the wet grass of the front lawn.
F. was setting up a floor lamp with a heavy extension cord running from a plug inside the front door.
I had been anticipating something lovely--the beauty of the opening flower in the pool of lamplight was astonishing.

B. and I settled on the porch swing, facing the plant which was now enthroned on a rustic bench.
Small moths blundered against the light bulb releasing tiny clouds of 'fur' from their wings.
Deep-toned wind chimes responded to the breeze with a gentle melody.
Rain dripped from the porch roof, plonking onto an overturned bucket which lay in the grass below the steps. 
Several of the barn kittens visited, swiping at low-flying moths, pouncing on errant crickets.

Almost we could discern the expanding of the petals--or so we imagined.
The throat of the flower widened, pushing the delicate star-shaped pistol and the pale yellow stamens into better view. 
The blossom has an exotic fragrance--sweet, but not cloying--elusive rather than heavy.
It was nearly 11 P.M. when we realized that we must abandon the blossom and call it a day.
I walked up the lane, a train of barn cats escorting me.
Rain dripped from the trees beyond the brook; there was a scent of autumn in the damp night air--a scent of earth and of the fallen leaves blown onto the floor of the porch.
I went to bed full of wonder at the beauty of the rare flower we had enjoyed.
Lovely in itself and the more to be treasured for the unpredictability of its blooming.


  1. Very exciting the opening of a treasured flower and it is very beautiful. We have a less exotic plant, evening primrose, and if you stay by its side for sometime it will open, shrink in on itself and then fully open.

    1. The small yellow evening primrose is naturalized here--I've never watched them opening, but have realized that the flowers are quickly past their prime and more opening. I'm wondering if this is the same plant you have.

  2. So glad you got to see this. My dear husband and I did this one night and captured photos. A sweet memory for me.

    Have a lovely week ~ FlowerLady

    1. Rainey; I am sure that your photos were far more detailed than mine. I've been looking at my best photo of the fully opened blossom and wishing I could design an applique using very delicately shaded fabrics.

  3. Replies
    1. Hart; Both evenings were so quietly peaceful in the company of friends--and of course on the second night we were delighted with the flower.

  4. How beautiful! Flowers like this just amaze me-would love to see one open someday!

    1. Jan; In reading about this plant it seems the natural habitat is the desert. Although my friends have had the plant for nearly 20 years it has bloomed less than half a dozen times--thus a great occasion.

  5. You painted a beautiful picture in my mind, I wish I could have been there. Such a beautiful bloom, how long does it last?

    1. Briony; My neighbor was back on the porch about 4 a.m. at which time the bloom had wilted. It collapses back into the bud shape, drys and falls away.
      I wish I could have better described the scent of the flower--haunting.

  6. That is a magically beautiful bloom. I am happy that you were able to witness it's opening and that you shared your wonderful photos of it with us. Thank you.

    1. Susie; It was an unforgettable experience--made better by sharing with friends!

  7. What a wonderful experience that must have been! In my humble opinion, nothing compares to the miracles in nature. Thank you for sharing the photos, for I am certain I will never see a Night Blooming Cereus in my lifetime. They look very exotic.