I thought I would share this little photography session with you….I waited 6 years for this very fragrant night-blooming orchid cactus to show this huge 7-inch flower. It blooms for one night and is gone. It bloomed the night before Mother’s Day, which was nice because my wife and mother-in-law got to see it.

I was up for much of the night figuring out how to photograph it best – eventually using an off-shoe flash reflected off my hand to get the right amount of dispersed light to make it really stand out without losing detail. Most of these photos were taken around 4am when it was completely silent and still on my front porch, and even the armadillo that lives under my AC unit was quiet.

By mid-morning, the flower was starting to close, and by late afternoon, it had gone completely limp and then wilted. Sometimes, the simple and beautiful things are worth the wait!

Just as a side note – I picked this piece of cactus from a potted plant about six years ago from a plant nursery I was working part-time, and it survived being outside in SW Florida through Hurricane Charley (had to go find it a block away from where I left it before the storm) and through Hurricane Wilma (I found it in the backyard when I left it in the front yard). I eventually took it and another like it to Tallahassee last summer where it has been abused by cold and wind all winter. If someone knows a tougher plant than this cactus – please let me know!

Rich Leighton ~ May 12, 2009

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