Only a few times during the Summer, under the darkness of a night with a full moon (what those in the know call a Full Sturgeon Moon) a spectacular event occurs on my terrace – the blooming of the Queen of the Night.

The Queen of the Night flower (also known as Cereus) is a type of cactus and blooms three to four times a year but when they do they only come out in the middle of night and only last in bloom for that one single night. The flower has long wide spreading sepals and petals and grow best in cool to warm conditions and blooms from Summer until Autumn.

Cereus in PalermoThis flower originates from the tropical rainforests of Mexico. It grows in the tree tops, and lives on the surface of other plants. The petals are pure white and the scent it is beautifully intoxicating since it only has one night to attract the pollinating insects!

We have many pots of this beautiful plant in our terrace garden and we are fortunate to witness the entire blooming when it happens.

This event is so breathtaking that when I see the buds in the morning about to bloom I invite all my guests at Butera 28 Apartments to come and watch these wonderful flowers blossom in front of their eyes in a matter of minutes. However, unfortunately, by sunrise all of the flowers which bloomed in the night are sadly dead.

There is something incredibly touching about this stunning and ephemeral beauty, about its frailty and its transience – as Keats said, it is ‘Beauty that must die’.


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