Note: Read to the bottom or you'll miss the most important part of this post.
For nearly two years I've called it the Linda Berry Creek cactus because I couldn't find anyone who could tell me the name of it, including the woman who'd given me a cutting from her plant. I'd been told by one person in the horticulture industry that it was in the Christmas Cactus family and it does have a similar form, though it would appear to be a giant compared to most of the Schlumbergera family of plants. This photo was taken June 2, 2005. The plant has filled out considerably since then.
About the first of September I noticed a bud on the plant. The appearance of the bud was just what I needed to spur me into action to try once again to find out the name of "That Plant". I started searching on line and by using the phrase "plant identification" I found several places where I might get help. In fact I got wrong names, but finally I was given the correct name, along with pictures that confirmed it. It is an Epiphyllum, which is more commonly called "Queen of the Night" or "Night blooming Cereus". Learning that it is a night bloomer, and that the flower lasts just one night was disconcerting, but I'm somewhat of a night owl, so it wasn't a terrible thing.
Over the past nearly three weeks I've been like a mother hen watching the growth of the bud, worrying that my cat would play with this new and tempting start and knock it off. I'd also been told not to change the plant's environment or it might drop the bud. One more thing to worry about!
This is the bud as I first noticed it.
And about one week later it had grown this much. It continued to grow, getting longer and fatter with each day.
Finally after watching for what seemed forever, yesterday I noticed that it appeared to be beginning to open. Sure enough my hourly checks on it were rewarded with the most spectacular flower and scent I've ever seen and smelled. If I could bottle that scent I'd be rich very quickly. How sad, though, that a flower so beautiful never lives to see the light of day, and lasts for only one night. It is a bloom and a perfume that even the "early to bed, early to rise" set would have found worth waiting for .
Don't you agree?