Friday, July 29, 2016

Night Bloomer ... again!

 We never expect our Night Blooming Cereus to bloom more often than once a decade. Or, rather, that's how we've always thought about it in the past. But recently something strange is happening. It bloomed last September (click here to read the story).

 Before that there was a five year gap. That still seemed too often for our expectations but we couldn't argue with success. To see the 2009 bloom, click here.

 To learn more about the plant, click here.

 I won't belabor the story - because I've told it twice before - but I still wanted to share last night's bloom, as much for my own record-keeping as anything.

07/28/16 - 11:21 pm

 We have been watching a bud develop after first spotting it on July 14, the day after my birthday. I water the plants we keep on our porch each Thursday so both Mom and I were checking the plants that day. She spotted the telltale bud first.

07/14/16 - The first sign

07/21/16 - Developing quickly 

07/27/16 - Just a day before opening 

07/28/16 - Mere hours to go

 Last evening, before climbing the stairs to go to bed at 9 pm, I took a last look. The flower bud looked substantially like the picture above, though some of the pinkish strips of tissue seemed to be pulling away. I knew the blooming was close, though I expected it to take another full day. The plant has never seemed in a hurry.

 The plant only blooms at night, As I climbed the stairs, the sun had recently set but the sky was still bright. I decided not to get up during the night.

 I turned on the Internet radio and listened to Hillary Clinton give her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention and then switched over to the BBC in London to listen to a local talk show. I slowly began to fall to sleep.

 About 11:30 pm I heard Mom's voice, muffled by the running a/c. I crawled out of bed and asked her what she wanted. "I'm up and I thought maybe we ought to check on the Night Blooming Cereus and see if it was blooming." I told her I had checked at bedtime but I thought it wouldn't hurt to have a look.

 I walked down the steps and we both went over to the door to the indoor porch. I turned on the light and stepped out. "My gosh," I told her. "It's in full bloom!"

 She came out, too - though she can barely walk at nearly ninety-one, and we enjoyed the bloom together. The plant was originally her mothers and it was grown on a front porch in Miamisburg during the summers (I think it was placed in an unheated attic in the winter). This is a start (maybe even several times removed) from that plant. Mom looked at the glorious bloom as said, "It's like talking to my mother.."

 It is, of course, one of those special shared moments that I'll remember forever. I love that the past gathers a voice through flowers and I hope, on some future night, to hear my mother speak to me.

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