Resuming Normal Gardening Activities

Now that the night bloomer (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) has bloomed, it's time to get back to normal and resume mid-summer gardening activities. As noted, the flower lasts just one night, and by the next day it's closed and wilting.

One of the commenters on the bloom post yesterday, Robin(Bumblebee), asked why a bloom like that would only last a single night. I don't know, but if someone does know, please comment with the answer, as it is a good question.

I'm just happy to have one bloom for one night, but where these are grown outside year around, they can have dozens of blooms at the same time, which would be quite a sight.

Last night while this was blooming I didn't do much else in the garden, other than the necessary watering of container plantings, as I didn't want to get caught up in something, lose track of time, and miss the event. I suffer a bit from Garden Attention Distraction Syndrome, GADS, so I have to be careful when total focus is called for.

I didn't even go out to the vegetable garden to check for more produce. I violated my rule about checking the zucchini squash EVERY DAY.

Guess what I found this evening in the vegetable garden?

Zucchini, more zucchini. 'Ambassador', 'Gold Rush', 'Gold Bar' and 'Cue Ball', all there. All big. Most of these are going straight to work tomorrow and all my co-workers who say "if you ever have any extra zucchini..." will be taking these off my hands. I might just get to work earlier than normal and leave these on their desks and act all innocent if they ask me if I know where they came from.

There was another surprise out in the garden this evening.

The first tomato that is not a cherry tomato. I've greatly enlarged it here as it is a bit underwhelming in size, being about the size of a ping pong ball. This is not the kind of first tomato for which one invokes a ritual or plans a Festival of the First Tomato around. It's an early variety called 'Oregon Spring'. It feels almost 'not right' to count this as my first tomato of 2007. If I do count it, it will be a tie with my first tomato from last year, also picked on July 19th. But that was a nice big Brandywine.

I am glad, in a way, that I didn't go out to the vegetable garden yesterday evening because if I had found this first tomato on the same day the night bloomer was blooming, it would have been too much gardening excitement for one day. I would have really been torn on what to focus on. Each event happens just once a year and deserves total focus.

For the record, I have picked a couple of cherry tomatoes every day since about last Friday, so if I count this little tomato-ette as the first tomato, maybe I should lower all my standards and count those cherry tomatoes instead. That would make July 13th the date of my first tomato for this year.

What would you do?

While you think about it, I'm going to go ahead and eat my 'Oregon Spring' tomato.

Update: The 'Oregon Spring' tomato was actually pretty good. It had a nice tomato-y taste for an early variety. That makes me lean toward counting it as the first tomato, though I didn't go through any elaborate rituals or ceremonies when I ate it. I'll have to do that later for the first 'big' tomato.


  1. I myself suffer from GADS and have been known to "slip out for a minute to the garden" while my baby is sleeping, only to return 45 minutes later, after getting caught up in watering, weeding and pruning to her wailing in the crib. Please don't call CPS.

  2. LOL@ bonnie,

    You know Robin has gotten me curious as to the reason why it only blooms for one night. Maybe it is some kind of evolutionary adaptation to ensure pollination.

    If you're a member of gardenweb you can try posting in the C&S forum and see if anyone there knows the reason. If you're not a member I can pose the question on your behalf.

  3. I agree. Oregon Spring is not worthy of the satin pillow and first tomato ritual. It's really just a cherry tomato on steroids.

  4. Well, a tomato is a tomato, so you could award the first tomato thingy to the cherry tomatoes if you so wish. ;-)

    I had my first tomato last week, a yellow one, the size of a golfball. Right now I have ripe tomatoes coming out of my ears, a bit like you and your zucchinies. ;-)

  5. I decided to honor my first tomato as a beefsteak tomato. The cherries are nice but they ripen faster than the other tomatoes.

  6. I'm a cherry tomato fan. So count it. I think it's worthy of the notoriety.

  7. The first cherry is the harbinger of Real Tomato Season, so it's noteworthy yes. But personally I feel it's the first full sized tomato that counts the most.

  8. Well, I'm glad to see that some fine minds are working on this mystery of the single night bloom. If I weren't so overwhelmed, I would do some research myself. As it is, too farrrrrr behind...

    And Carol - I was really hoping for more fanfare with the small tomato. It seems a bit of vegetable discrimination not to make a "do" just because a fellow is small!

    --Robin (Bumblebee)

  9. GADS! Thanks for the diagnosis, Carol... I am glad to know it's not just me losing it. I now have a "medical excuse" to use with my family. :)

    I think you should count all the tomatoes, Carol. After all, just because it's small doesn't mean it's not still a tomato, right?

    And congrats on that lovely night bloomer. I loved the time-lapse photos.

  10. Fantastic harvest you are getting.. I love cherry tomatoes... They are so sweet and tender.. Enjoy!

  11. Hi Carol that was quite night you had with the nigh bloomer. I done the same with my I seat outside looking at it and you can see it opening up. I also wonder why the show only last one night, maybe the plant uses so much energy producing the bloom that it can not sustain it more than a day.

  12. Well, I love cherry tomatoes, but there is just SOMETHING about that first ripe full size tomato...even though yours is a bit on the wee side :-) I just posted a photo of my first big tomato.

  13. I posted a great recipe for large zucchini . You'd better check it out before you give them all away! Birds and Blooms magazine just had an article about your night bloomer.

  14. Hi again, Carol

    I have just posted on “Bloggers For Positive Global Change” and wanted to tell you that I have nominated you. Have a good weekend!

  15. We didn't plant a vegetable garden. Your produce looks DELICIOUS. I'm a little late posting my July 15th entry because we were gone, but I did post it last night and I see that one of my blogosphere friends also posted on her site! FUN FUN!

  16. Sorry, Carol misunderstood the whole nomination for awards thing and have deleted my post.


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