For Whom The Flower Blooms

Ask not for whom the flower blooms, the flower blooms for thee, the gardener.

Oh, how we wish that were true! Then we could command flowers to bloom whenever it pleased us for them to bloom. But we know that flowers are not for us, they are how the plants continue their species, they are for their survival. They are merely vessels designed to attract the perfect pollinator… bees, flies, moths, butterflies, even the wind. Their shape, their color, even when they bloom, are all part of the grand scheme of it all, designed, divined so that the pollinator is there when the flower blooms.

And I thought this Delphinium bloomed for me! After all, I’ve waited so long for it to bloom in my garden. I’ve been watching that bloom stalk for weeks, it seems and the other day wondered if it was actually going to bloom while I was in Chicago over the weekend. But then last night, as I was mowing, I saw that it was finally blooming. Blooming for me! I actually stopped mowing, went inside to get my camera, and then took pictures of it and admired it for a minute or two.

Later in the evening, some thunderstorms rolled through with all their wind and rain, and because I didn’t stake the Delphinium it is probably now flat on the ground.

Let’s go out and check.

Oh, well, while it lasted, for just a few hours, it was nice to see and enjoy.

I have another bloom that usually arrives just once a year, and is always eagerly anticipated and watched, the night-blooming cereus, Ephiphyllum oxypetalum. She is truly the Queen of the Night with a strong scent decided to attract who knows what as a pollinator. But she generally just attracts me, and makes me stop what I am dong and watch her bloom.

I have four very nicely rooted starts of the Queen of the Night that I am taking with me to the Chicago Spring Fling. They should be nicely rooted, since they’ve been in their little pots for two plus years. One is spoken for, but three are up for grabs. If you are going to be Chicago and have a place in your home for a night blooming cereus and a way to get it home, let me know, and I’ll give you one.

You will of course have to listen to its history, how my Dad got a start from Louisa V., who was originally from Czechoslovakia, how he used to take it outside every summer, how when it bloomed it was a neighborhood event, how he gave my aunt a start of it, how decades later she hinted for me to come and get hers as she could no longer manage such a plant but certainly didn’t want it to die, how I went to her house to get it, and how some pieces of it broke off, and I certainly didn’t want to compost then, so I rooted seven starts of them, how I gave two of them to co-workers, and gave one to my older sister, how I waited so long for the one my Dad gave me to bloom for me because mine is inside all the time, and how once I thought it was going to bloom when I was out of town for work, and so I briefly considered asking my boss if I could cancel my trip, but it bloomed the night I got home, and how it has bloomed each year since.

And I might also tell you how I care for mine.

Anyway, if you are going to be at the Chicago Spring Fling, and you read this post, be one of the first to tell me the secret code word “night bloomer”, and I’ll give you one of these plants. The bloom looks like this, just for you...


  1. Wish I was going to Spring Fling ~ I'd be happy to hear all about the "night bloomer" What a gorgeous flower.

    I'm glad that the Delphinium bloomed for you before you left. Have lots of fun in Chicago!

  2. Too bad about your delphinium... they do demand some support but do make good cut flowers so hopefully you are enjoying it inside. You certainly are lucky however with your night-blooming cereus! I have gone over to friends to witness this delightful and delicious flower... and is not gardening all about waiting ... patience and more patience. But always worth the wait for we have so much to enjoy while waiting. Were I going to the CSF I would love one of your cuttings... what a great gift! Thank you for the post with lovely photo to recall their beauty.

  3. The Cereus is a truly beautiful flower. Thanks for the image and the story that goes along with it. I have a hoya that came from my mother, who died 22 years ago this summer. It has only bloomed for me once or twice, yet it still hangs in, looking green and sturdy. I think that's fitting.

  4. That night blooming cereus is gorgeous. My mother had one but she managed to kill it somehow. I love the long "Tale of the Cereus", and anyone who gets one of your starts should certainly have to learn its history. Passalong plants deserve their "Family Tree" to be known.

    Have fun in Chicago

  5. I agree flowers don't bloom just for us - But what's the harm in pretending :)

  6. My grandmother had this plant in the window for years and years. I've never seen a bloom on it. It's beautiful.

  7. now I wish even more I was going to the spring fling! the cereus is be-yoo-te-ful!

  8. Boy, I would LOVE one of those, but I'm sure I would kill it, or the dogs would...or the cats...or the kids......

    It's probably much safer going off to Chicago with you.

  9. Did you know that Edward Steichen loved delphiniums so much that he planted 5 acres of them at his Reading Connecticut home? And that he got the new (1939?) Museum of Modern Art to devote all its exhibit space to the delphinium one June? Or that he hybridized delphiniums including the Connecticut Yankee, still for sale. Please come visit my Giveaway - today's posting at the

  10. Amazing cereus, I did not know they could grow here. I lived on Maui for years and there was a rock wall full of them. So beautiful.

  11. I hope you found homes for all your epi cuttings. I enjoy my cereuses (cerei?) so much, even though space for the winter is a problem, sometimes. I had blooms in October last year and they lasted longer into the morning the next day than the summertime blooms.

    There's no way to describe the fragrance. Sometimes I go to my own blog and click on epiphyllum, just to see them again, they're so special.


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