Friday, 8 November 2013

Queen of the Night

Have you ever been to a` Queen of the Night` party? No? neither have I, but I know there are groups of mad keen garden entrepreneurs that have. Of course a glass of champagne whilst waiting for a flower to open may not enthuse everyone, but this is not just a flower! it`s a Queen of the Night!

I have grown this amazing plant for the last six years from a cutting given to me. It`s a fairly ugly plant called Epiphyllum Oxypetalum and is a scrambling cactus looking thing which I have growing around and over my greenhouse. Last year was it`s first flowering - which I missed!

So this year I was determined to watch this beauty unfurl - only it rained a bit, and when I went back outside it was already open. Wow, it was huge - 28cm wide and luminescent, and in the dark - so we took a torch with us. She has the most exquisitely intoxicating sweet fragrance. Now for the magic...

                                       This is how she does it -

                                         She starts with a furry little bud over a week ago...

                              Slowly the buds elongate. They look soft but are in fact prickly.

The shaft lengthens as the flower forms.....
This is when you need to chill the champagne, cause tonight....

                                                           Voila... A Queen of the Night

She measured over 28cm wide 
A most spectacular flower which can only be viewed at night!
The morning after - she puts her all into her single nights display - and then she`s done.
At least she makes lots of buds - mine has 8 this year, so if you miss one flowering you should be able to time another. Wether you can host a `Queen of the Night` party at the right time is another matter. I rather like the idea of sitting in the dark, sipping champagne with some like minded friends, and shining a torch at a flower slowly opening before your eyes. It doesn`t take all night either - she opens within 2-3 hours. 
I have linked an amazing YouTube time lapse video for you to see her do her stuff

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