This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
In October, 1846, Mrs. T. W. Williams brought from Avon Springs to New London a slip from a plant of the cactus species, then comparatively rare in our country - the Cereus grandiflorus, or Night-blooming Cereus. It was a mere stalk, about six inches in length. After nursing it for some time, and finding the heat of her conservatory insufficient to bring it to the flowering point, she transferred it to the green-house of Mrs. H. P. Haven, where it still remains, and has bloomed regularly every year. It now fills a large box with its roots and stems, and has five or six main stalks that are nearly three yards each in length.
In its first years of bloom it bore only a single flower, and its opening was generally watched with great interest. July 28, 1851, the expanded blossom was visited by some seventy or eighty persons. In 1854 the number of blossoms had increased to six. In 1857 it had ten in all, and eight of these appeared in one evening, all unfolding together with artistic precision. In 1859 there was a still more beautiful exhibition; July 22, twenty full blossoms were expanded at once, shooting from different parts of the square stems and presenting a magnificent display of floral beauty. Notice having been given to friends and neighbors of this expected show, it was witnessed by a throng of admiring visitors, and accounts of it published in the local papers of the day.
This is the largest number of blossoms that the plant has exhibited at any one time, but the whole number produced increases rapidly from year to year. In 1866 it developed about sixty blossoms, spreading over a period of five weeks. The present year (1868) it has exhibited a much larger number, furnishing a series of splendid shows. In one evening nineteen blossoms were displayed, eighteen at another, and again, some days later, fifteen in one evening and seven in another, with lesser numbers at other times, amounting in all, between July 9th and August 12th, to eighty, and not an imperfect flower among them, or a bud that failed to mature and expand. F. M. C.