Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"When I Consider Everything That Grows / Holds In Perfection But A Little Moment-"

Thus begins Shakespeare's Sonnet XV. And I thought of this poem last evening, when at 7 PM, my Night Blooming Cereus opened its first blossoms-

I have had this plant for three years. I bought it from Logee's Greenhouses, and it was no more than a 4 inch piece of leaf. Over the next three years it grew two feet tall, and its habit was so informal that I had to stake it with bamboo sticks. It spent April through October in part shade out on my porch.

The buds appeared a few weeks ago. They grew and grew till they were the size of ornamental gourds. I brought the plant inside to protect it from colder weather and from the Porch Cats, who like to knock things over.

Last evening, without warning, all three buds opened. The flowers were seven inches across and fragrant. But 12 hours later in the morning light they had faded and shriveled, for they only bloom for one night, like a flower from a fairy tale or from "The Arabian Nights".

I do not know when they will bloom again.