Here we go again. I have been watching the Queen for the past three weeks and two weeks ago I saw the first buds. Since then she has increased the number to a point where it looks like a good year. I have been asked several times if this was going to be an exceptional year due to the winter rains, however from what I see right now it looks to be normal. There have been the usual setbacks with the pack rats taking their share, and some just being tired and pulling their resources back to the tuber.
As for the Queen’s Court, the Peniocereus marianus on grounds produced twenty-nine blossoms on two plants. The buds started in December and bloomed March. My P. marianus at home aborted her seven buds after the short cold snap in January. My P. johnstonii at home had ten beautiful flowers over a three-night period. The show for me so far was my P. viperinus, she produced 149 beautiful small red flowers over a three-week period. That is the most flowers I’ve seen on any one plant! Sadly, I won’t get any seeds because I only have one and she is not self-compatible. I did try to cross pollinate her with the P. johnstonii, which bloomed at the same time, with no luck. The P. serpentinus (recently changed to genus Nyctocereus) in the gardens has had sixty-five flowers so far, with a few more buds on the way. My P. fosterianus, P. oaxacensis, and P. tepalcatepecanus have all started to bud up.
I’m sure there will be up and downs again this year as always, but that is what makes the Queen such an interesting Monarch to all of us loyal subjects. Will keep you informed of her progress and am looking forward to seeing all of you again at this year’s Bloom Night.
Until Next Time – Lee Mason, Director of General Services, Tohono Chul