I just finished writing a post about the night-blooming cereus in our yard and how they might bloom in the next few days. Then found out that it was possible they would bloom tonight! But it turns out that only one of our night-blooming cereus bloomed tonight and that we still have four left to go. That is okay with me! I’m glad I was able to do a practice run with my camera. It’s not easy taking pictures of flowers at night! I’ll be posting pics of their progression from bud to flower. If I’m able to tomorrow, I will take a picture of the flower after it closes.

First, in case you missed my last post, what is the night-blooming cereus? Our particular variety is a cactus that is native to the Arizona desert. It’s an unassuming cactus that is not very impressive when it is not flowering. In fact, you would almost mistake it for dead mesquite branches or just a dead plant that can be thrown away. Throwing this cactus away would be a terrible mistake though! Even though it only blooms once a year, it certainly puts on quite a show.

When I realized that our chicken coop night-blooming cereus might bloom tonight, I went out around 4 PM to photograph the flower buds.

4 PM

Now I know the signs of a night-blooming cereus about to bloom. You can just see the white petals beginning to peek out of the top of the bud. I checked on the other cereus and none of them had these signs.

I frightened this ground squirrel while I was out walking in the yard. It thought it was hiding very well!

7 PM

After dinner, I went out again to photograph the flower buds. They were already beginning to open!

Our chickens were really curious about what I was doing out there. Or… they just wanted treats.

After Sunset

I was outside for a while after dinner and ended up out after sunset. The sunset tonight was spectacular. So many changes in the light every few minutes.

I wish that the wire mesh wasn’t around this plant but I know it protects them from all the critters roaming around here.

9 PM

Josh has this really great worklight that we also use for taking pictures in our homemade lightbox. It was handy to use for taking pictures of the flowers at night, when they are the most impressive.

These flowers are so beautiful! They were a joy to photograph. I took many, many shots since I was holding the light in one hand and shooting with my other. I knew I was going to end up with quite a few blurry or off-kilter pictures.

10 PM

I believe these flowers were fully open by 9 PM, but I wanted to go out again at 10 PM just to make sure. This time Josh went with me. These flowers are supposed to be vanilla-scented, but I didn’t really smell any scent. It was a little bit breezy by this time so maybe that is why. We saw flashes of lightning in the distance, possibly about 20 miles away. The storms with them were probably causing the windy weather.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about and seeing pictures of the night-blooming cereus. The desert does have its own beauty! Sometimes the beauty is bright and eye-catching like the prickly pear cactus flower and sometimes it’s quiet and easily missed. I hope you find beauty this weekend wherever you are!


This post is the second part of a series. You can read the remaining posts here:

Night-blooming Cereus: Bloom Watch

Night-blooming Cereus: Second Bloom

Night-blooming Cereus: Third Bloom

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. A_Boleyn

    Beautiful flower. You did a great job with the photography.

    1. Lynn-Marie

      Thank you! It looks like our remaining night-blooming cereus will bloom tonight so it will be another late night!

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