A fragrant diva’s backyard performance–surely not to be missed

She didn’t know I was watching, but I caught a brief glimpse of her rehearsal. Right before sundown.

She does her best performing before daybreak, but just for me, she stayed up long enough to give me a beautiful Saturday morning showing.

My Brazilian beauty, Arthrocereum glaziovii, is a threatened species, but in my backyard, she is the star of the show.

Olà linda!

She loves to tease! She knows her prickly cactus exterior doesn’t appeal to everyone. She just waits, knowing what she has to offer if they don’t look away.

But for those who know…

I have witnessed her spectacular drama before, but never quite like this! The bees were lured by her strong and extravagant fragrance.

Had she not chosen a weekend performance I might have missed her. You either catch her in the act, or you don’t even know she came to town.

And when she’s had enough, she gently bows, then makes a quick, but quiet retreat. She knows enough to conserve her star power for the next big show–perhaps a few months from now.

She’s only on stage for a brief, but lovely, 24-hour cycle. It’s a rare showing, but so worth waiting for.

Closed buds

At the end of the day, she closes her beautiful petals, but she leaves an impression, softly saying,

“Boa noite meus amigos”.

48 thoughts on “A fragrant diva’s backyard performance–surely not to be missed

    • I’m here to give the often overlooked cactus some extra attention, Nancy! It was quite a show. It’s certainly happy in its spot, because there’s no feeding or extra TLC…it just takes care of itself. :-)

    • I am fascinated with cactus, Andra. The best part of this flowering bonanza was watching all the cactus bees come from out of nowhere, and just go to town. Nature provides so many wonderful performances. I was so glad this was a weekend show. :-)

  1. That sure is a great performance. With only one performance every month or so you’d be so upset if you missed it! I’ve never heard of this plant. It’s very beautiful and I’m glad you were able to capture it at its very best xx

    • I have a goal of helping cactus gain a little more attention. :-) It is so often overlooked. I’m glad you liked this particular “performance.” I was in awe of how many blooms this one cactus had this time. ox

    • Thank you so much, Cathy. It isn’t often that I have the chance to really highlight how beautiful cactus can be. It’s so often under appreciated in our region because it is a bit common–but this flower was far from common! I am really going to have to be sure I take care of it in the future. I now have high expectations. :-)

    • I think the gardeners in our little blogging community tend to inspire one another with the glimpses of what grows in different climates and regions. I love seeing what others can grow that I cannot, and often, I tend to notice things differently in my own garden when I’ve been admiring somewhere else. I’m glad I could share my beautiful cactus flower with you, Johanna. She was something else this time. :-)

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the cactus flower, Frank. And you’re right, I’m sure I have missed it previously, I often wonder what I miss at home when I’m at work. The weekends always seem to show me something beautiful. I hope everything just waits for me, but, Darwin keeps an eye on things! :-)

  2. What a stunning flower! Sorry to have missed commenting on your last few posts, Debra, but I don’t have much computer time at the moment, I LOVE your new header photo. :-)

    • I’m so glad you caught this particular post about the cactus flower, Perpetua. I always miss hearing from you, but I was actually quite surprised to find this comment! I knew you were off to Scotland, and I really assumed you’d be spending your time in many other ways. I know you’re having a wonderful time away. Continue to enjoy. :-)

  3. What a fascinating species (are plants species?). Only 24 hours if that beauty? That’s really neat and amazing that you were able to capture it so beautifully. On a side note, I think I’ll be making frozen bananas soon. :)

    • I’m just loving your comment about making frozen bananas, Kristy! Good!! Yes, this particular cactus bloom is only for 24 hours. It lingers another day or two, but rather shriveled and not nearly as aromatic. This particular bloom was so profuse I took notice in a new way, and I would like to learn more about it. I have a feeling you’ll be hearing about it again sometime. :-)

  4. What a beauty! How fortunate to have found such a nice spot for her. She certainly wouldn’t be flowering if the conditions weren’t ideal. Too bad to read that they’re endangered. I bet it was a real sight to stumble upon a number of them performing on their special night. Thanks for sharing a bit of the performance with us, Debra. The photography was beautiful.

    • I sometimes think my garden just knows I love each and every one of the living specimens, John. There was a time I lavished so much care on everything and now, I do my best, but I don’t have the weekly routines I once had. They still seem to do well. I actually think we have very good soil. We live right in the path of where the old mission property once stood, and despite the droughts and all, we do have a high water table with underground aquifers. But I think it’s that they know I love them. :-) Thanks for the compliments on the photography. I am so trying to practice. If I take dozens, I can usually get a few I like. LOL!

    • I’m just fascinated that bees and birds seem to know where to go to get what they need! LOL! The bees were swarming. My photographic skills only gave me a limited ability to capture them in flight, Meg. :-)

  5. Spectacular!
    Debra; I would have been sitting right there with you. Since I cannot be, it is a gift to see it through your eyes from afar. Can you imagine all that energy and engineering that goes into a one night bloom on a cactus? all that fragrance? One of Barbara Kingsolver’s books, the one after “Pigs in Heaven”, I think, has the two ladies who watch over Turtle waiting for a night blooming Cereus to open – only to find out later that one of the women is blind with the heightened sense of smell.

    • One more Barbara Kingsolver book I just must read. I find just the one scene you’re describing very compelling! I remember seeing the desert blooms in that Discovery series “Planet Earth”–I think that’s the right title, and watching birds and bees that traveled for miles and miles to be in “just the right place” when a desert cactus would bloom for its brief little moment. I am just awed by the synchronicity in nature. It is amazing to us all, I know! I have little tiny cacti that do the same thing, only very miniature. I’m so glad you could enjoy the beautiful flower with me. :-)

    • I’m also glad you had the chance to see her in her rehearsal stage! When I went to get my coffee in the morning and looked out the window I couldn’t believe how full the blooms were. It was so delightful! :-)

  6. Wow!!! This is a beautiful peek into your world. This diva is worth watching. :) You are quite talented Debra, in using words and photographs that educate and entertain.

  7. How utterly beautiful that you’ve captured this flower and its moments of existence, quietly in the garden there.

    This is just beautiful!

  8. What a special treat to share with us! I was expecting a beautiful soprano.. and to see such a delightful diva as this was so much more a delight because of the surprise! You must have just been breathless and silent taking these photos.. I would hold my breath hoping she would go on and on. You were so lucky and she’s so fortunate to be living with you, Deb! xx

    • Thank you so much, Barb, for taking the time to enjoy my special cactus flower! Wasn’t she something? I know she’ll be back, but I wonder if there will be as many blooms next time. I have no idea. This was the most I’ve ever had at one time. :-)

  9. Gorgeous! She reminds me of Queen of the Night, also know as Nightblooming Cereus. The best photos I’ve been able to take were of the bud, in the preceding days before her simultaneous grand appearance and final curtain call. And then the next morning, a spent blossom. Thank you for sharing your queen!

    • I think I’ve heard of Nightblooming Cereus, Victoria, but now I’d like to do a little investigating! I just love these dramatic flowering plants, and perhaps I can add to my garden. Isn’t it delightful to watch the buds begin to form and then to slowly follow the development of the flower? I think I feel a little sorry for those who don’t pay attention to these natural wonders, don’t you? :-)

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