Archive for July, 2007

A Rescued Beauty

queen of the night 3 Over a year ago, one of my neighbors kicked a small pot of tangled succulent out of her garden. “Would you like to have this?”

The pot of plant was a mess. Some of the succulent’s tips were chewed off by her puppy, and it looked fit enough to be discarded. The pot was not even a pot but an old corroded can that used to contain powdered milk.

My neighbor thought she had bought a lemon. She was promised beautiful white flowers, but after many, many months, she only ended up with a mess of a plant, hence the eviction.

Reluctantly, I took the plant it. It looked like it would be an eyesore to my already ill-maintained front yard. However, since it was a living thing, I felt obligated to adopt it somehow. After repotting the sorry-looking thing, I offered it shelter at the far end of the backyard where the malabar spinach (alugbati) grew.

Starting the month of April, I observed that it had a few large buds about 3 to 4 inches long that never seemed to reach full bloom. They would seem ready to bloom one day only to be wilted by the following morning. I decided to watch and wait.

The evening after my photo session with my friend Che at the American War Memorial, I went home dog-tired. I had already forgotten about the succulent. The only reason I went to the backyard was because I had to let the dogs out for some exercise as they had been cooped up all day. To my astonishment, I saw something distinctly white coming out of the shadows. It was a flower that was about the size of my palm. The sight of it was like no other, and it gave me the needed adrenaline rush to run inside, grab my cam and shoot away in the dark. Thank goodness the built-in flash did an adequate job.

queen of the night 2

No complaints at the moment. In fact, I am thrilled that the messy-looking succulent decided to show me its flowers. Now I feel guilty about placing it at the most ignored portion of the backyard.

I was told that this plant is called the Queen of the Night. The name sure fits the flower as it blooms only at night and dies with the sunrise. A life so short and beautiful, this awe-inspiring flower. It reminded me of the fable about the ugly duckling that turned into a beautiful swan. I am thankful that I survived in my yard somehow. I was again reminded not to just a book by its cover, or in this case a plant by its general appearance.


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