|The legendary Night Blooming Cereus times it flowering to occur on or near the full moon's of summer,|
to take advantage of night-pollinating insects.
Last week's full moon has come and gone, leaving a couple of our night blooming plants lost as they missed the event by a few days. I'll share with you that I was secretly planning to post last Wednesday, the annual blooming of our Night Blooming Cereus, which usually happens in the greenhouse every August on the night of the Full Sturgeon Moon, an incredible and strangely mysterious event of nature, but this year, for some reason, the timing was off by a full week. I've been wondering why, but the reason might be something more human related, than nature related.
|Murraya paniculata, also known as a 'Jessamine', or "Jasmine", yet it is neither, is intensely fragrant once the sun|
sets - this single plant has an orange blossom scent so strong, that it wafts up to the second floor bedrooms in our house.
Perhaps our night blooming plant just didn't realize how rare last weeks full moon was, for according to astronomers, that incredibly beautiful Full Sturgeon Moon last week was also fluke of nature, technically a Blue Moon. "But wait a minute...", you may be saying, "...isn't a Blue Moon just a full moon that occurs in the same month in which a full moon already occurred?" Well, yes, but the experts are telling us differently - last weeks' Blue Moon was also the third full moon in a four-full moon season, and that was, and is, the true definition of a Blue Moon.
|Another August night-blooming plant is the Night Blooming Jasmine, or Cestrum nocturnum, with a fragrance so intense that even a twig brought indoors with a few blossoms can be tolerated for just a few minutes.|
Another plant blooming tonight is the Night Blooming Jasmine, not really a Jasmine at all, but rather a Cestrum nocturnum, a genus with about 250 species which is more closely related to the tomato than jasminum. We gardeners really don't care, for the scent is fantastically sweet, if not overpowering. The event here is only briefly longer than the night-blooming cereus, with flowers lasting for only a few days on these tender, tropical shrubs. Our plant spends winter in the cold greenhouse, but it's the cutting which I plant out each year, into the perennial border. Cestrum species grow so quickly, that a 4 inch cutting can reach 4 feet tall in a few months. I will take cuttings near the end of summer, which will carry our stock through the winter. Sadly, the plant only blooms once a year, yet for one week of super sweetness ( I think it smells like grape Pez candy), it's worth it. The hot, humid nights of August would seem incomplete without the scent of these two plants, if only for a day or two.