Night-blooming cereus and I just couldn't click in the 1990s, when I lived here in Georgia. I tried one after another – and failed each time. Until I moved to Connecticut and got one to bloom spectacularly, its flowers surviving a windstorm. It was a passalong cereus I called Grandma, named for the friend who sent me a box of cuttings from Georgia.
Well, I'm back in Georgia, with that same show-stopper, though it's only a shadow of its formerly heavy self. I wasn't expecting much this year from this thin plant that had been pruned, boxed and moved, then hung out to recover.
Did it ever.
No, it's not blooming the way it did that first time, but it's blooming. Sometimes that's all that matters. Whether its flowers number one or one hundred, I'm happy with the beauty, the fragrance, the satisfaction of succeeding with a plant that refused me for all those years ago.
The blooms, which as the name says, come at night. Some people hold midnight parties to celebrate opening night. I do not. One morning I opened the door of my writing room and smelled something perfumey, even before I saw the snow-white blossoms that were not there the day before. Buds were there, of course, but they never have told me what night they'll burst.
Lest the blooms fade, I quickly photographed the plant and hustled it indoors in an effort to preserve (and enjoy) this sweet smell of success. For several days, I kept the plant on the table in the dimly-lit dining room, treating it as an honored guest.
Then, I photographed it some more, including a single blossom in a sake cup, which seemed fitting as we didn't raise a cup to it at midnight.
Its big show over, the cereus has gone back to its hanging post. It has a few unopened buds that may open sooner or later. I resist checking daily, knowing if any blooms come, their perfume will announce their arrival. Surprise!