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It Happened One Night

June 30, 2019

Some years ago, the man found a very small cactus, not much bigger than a walnut, in the middle of our street.  It had, apparently, fallen from a window box far above.  Perhaps it had tried to follow a fledgling into the sky.  Cacti cannot fly and, therefore, was doomed to be crushed under a tire.  But, very carefully, he carried it home, gave it a pot of dirt, and wished it well.  It lived, but that seemed to be the extent of its ambition until last summer.  We went away for a month and left all the plants in the tender care of a greener-thumbed friend.  It grew!  It thrived!  It doubled in size!  And has continued on a less dramatic curve since.  It was re-homed to a place of its own, no longer sharing accommodations with a succulent and the world’s smallest monolith.

Then, a month or more ago, small-but-not-as-small-as-it-was cactus sprouted a pup!  One day I noticed something that resembled nothing so much as a fuzzy little almond on one side.  Maybe it’s growing an arm, like the mighty saguaro of Arizona.  After some time, and very much all of a sudden, the pup shot out a stalk.  There was definitely a large bud at the end of the stalk, too.  Little rescue cactus was going to blossom!

I showed last summer’s foster gardener and she has one that quite recently did the same thing.  She warned that it may bloom for only one day, so we went on Flower Watch.  And googled.  It’s a Night Blooming Cereus, also known as Queen of the Night.  And, keeping with the job description,  on July 24th at sunset, she did indeed bloom.  Oh my goodness, how she bloomed!  Such concentrated effort little rescue cactus put into this one flower.  Such a big job!  Such a beautiful blossom!  Because it looked like a fuzzy trunk holding out a flower, the man has named her Snuffleupagus.  I concur.  It is a good name for a very good cactus.


As advertised, 36 hours later, the delicate petals were drooping, browning, shriveling.  The stalk is drying out as well.  We will wait to see if anything remains to grow or, perhaps if she is happy and healthy and feeling secure, will do it all over again next year.  I understand that there are those who throw Night Blooming Cereus watching parties.  Seems it would have to be a terribly impromptu affair, but we’ll do our best.  Isn’t she worth it?


4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2019 17:04

    Wow!!! That’s amazing! I had no idea such a thing happened. Congratulations on your well-timed observations!

    • June 30, 2019 17:07

      Neither did I! It’s been an ongoing surprise. I’m so proud of the little thing.

  2. Nancy permalink
    June 30, 2019 18:41

    Beautiful flower 🌸 and as usual beautiful writing. I always read your blog as soon as I get the email! Hug!

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