Years ago a woman gave me a baby cactus from an old overgrown mother plant – a tiny ball of spines, I never imagined what would come of it. Today I have them in pots all around my patio, they reproduce like crazy, piling one on top of the other like a mound of sticker balls.
Every Spring, they produce furry little nodules. That seems to be the announcement of many babies, popping out of the older plants like warts. These can be pulled away when they have separated enough and put into their own pot. I use a pair of cooking tongs.
Sometimes the furry nodules will sprout a weird, snake-like bud, like an asparagus shoot. These are the flowers. They grow very quickly, over a couple of days, the tip swelling and turning an elegant pink. One night, after the sun is good and gone, they open up into the most gorgeous, fragile, almost too-beautiful-to-be-real flowers.
They remind me of Cinderella at the ball, the petals made out of some elegant fairy stuff. The sparkling golden anther are the jewels in a tiny tiara.
How ironic that something so fragile can rear itself up out of the ugly, twisted mass of thorny cactus.