June 2010 in Orange County had a run of unseasonably warm, humid weather. Not so good for getting yards and gardens in shape, but absolutely perfect for Night Blooming Cereus tropical plants. Also called Queen of the Night, the cereus is one of the strangest plants native to the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts
of Arizona, Texas, and Mexico. A mature plant sends out multiple fragile twiggy stems, each with the potential of unleashing a magnificent, 8-inch diameter bloom. And, each stem blooms for only one night, opening slowly as night falls, and closing forever with the first rays of morning sun.
The night air had cooled a bit, but humidity was still high. My cascading cereus is somewhat of a neighborhood attraction, and tonight, eight neighbors are seated in front of the plant, not unlike watching a silent movie, enjoying a variety of light, spicy Speyside single malts. The intoxicating aroma of both the whiskies and the plant become magical as the star-shaped flowers slowly yield to the night. Our whiskies of choice: Glenfiddich 12 and 15, Auchentoshan Three Wood, and Glenmorangie 10.