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Day after day my mother calls me on the phone to talk about her Moonflowers and how she stays up every night to watch them bloom. Night? Was that a typo? Nope. Let me tell you all about my mother’s Moonflowers.

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All About The Moonflower

A Moonflower is a very LARGE flower with Morning Glory type trumpets that open in the evening. When I say that the moonflower is large, I mean that it has 5 1/2 to 6 inch flower petal and the vines grow to a height of 15 feet! Moonflowers grow best in full sun and have an eight week blooming cycle. As the sun rises in the morning, the flower closes up, dies and Mom says that often the bloom falls off.

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The Moonflower is pollinated by moths that fly around at night. You thought those moths had no purpose didn’t you?! A Morning Glory has the opposite schedule of the Moonflower, but is very similar in more ways than just the trumpet like appearance. When the sun rises, the Morning Glory opens up and is pollinated by bees, but when the sun sets, it closes up. In just a few minutes, both the Moonflower and Morning Glory can open to a full bloom.

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Moonflowers are very heat and drought resistant, but require a lot of water. Mom treats hers like children checking on them and watering them throughout the 100 degree days we’ve had lately. Obviously it paid off because she keeps getting bloom after bloom of the beautiful, romantic Moonflower.

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As pretty and fragrant as the Moonflower appears, don’t eat them because they are very poisonous. Even the seeds are very poisonous! You can plant Moonflowers in beds, containers or at the borders of the yard or property. They are a very dramatic flower.

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Another interesting fact about the Moonflower is that it is deer resistant. Since Mom lives on the edge of a forest, this is a big positive! Moonflowers are very easy to grow, so they would look beautiful covering a trellis or climbing a lattice wall.

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So you might be thinking, “Big deal! What’s the big deal about a night blooming flower?”

I’ll tell you.

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Not only do Moonflowers bloom at night and close up during the day, which I think is very unusual, but they also glow in the moonlight. Seriously! Moonflowers glow in the dark!

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Because the flower is a somewhat sparkly, iridescent white color, when the moonlight hits the bloom it seems to glow. All around the night is dark and the flower petals cast the moonlight off in a glowing manner. You should hear how excited my mother was the first time her Moonflowers bloomed and caught the moonlight.

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“My Moonflower bloomed and it is glowing!!!!”

Yes, Mom was thrilled and amazed with the beauty of this large, white, fragrant night blooming flower.

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Moonflowers And Life

Mom constantly talking about her Moonflowers made me think a lot about the whole process of the way the flower blooms at night, fully opens in a few minutes, lives only during one night, closes up in the morning, dies and falls off.

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If you’ve read my blog for a while you have picked up that I’m not only impaired by PTSD, but I get overwhelmed with fear because… Well, to be frank, I guess I don’t have a whole lot of faith or belief that things will turn out okay for me.

Each time a big upheaval happens in my life, I panic. I get so panicky that I can’t see clearly nor am I able to come up with a new solution. I get stuck in panic and depression. I’m a bit ashamed to even admit it because as a Christian, I profess to believe in Jesus Christ’s message of hope, peace, joy and happiness. I also say that I believe He wants the best for me and that He will help provide a way for me to flourish.

I wonder if that makes me a hypocrite to say “I believe” and then instead of acting like it, I freeze up in panic and depression. Maybe it just makes me human or weak. Ugh.

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So I was thinking about how life is like a Moonflower. We are a seed that grows into a bud.

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One day we bloom and fully open up.

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All the world is before us and we shine.

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Then when we get to the end of our life, we close up and it is over.

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Our beauty is a memory to those who knew us.

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If we are too afraid to open ourselves up to every possibility and walk blindly into our hopes and dreams, it will be too late and our life will be over.

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I obviously need to take my own advice and just believe that everything will work out and I will be happy with the changes and outcome. I’ve got to somehow do better at “enjoying the journey” and stop worrying so much about the future. I hope that we all can improve on this aspect of life and that we can take the lesson from the Moonflower to shine while we have time.

By the way…the photos were not taken by me this time. Instead, they were taken by my beautiful daughter, Alyssa. Obviously, the girl has talent! Thank you very much, Alyssa, for taking the time to photograph the lovely flowers. {{{{hugssss forever}}}}



This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Susanne August 6, 2012 at 6:17 am

Hi, I feel the same way as you do. You took the words right out of my heart. Maybe it will comfort you to know that you are not alone. I’m trying…but it’s not really working. At least the Moonflower opens completely and realizes its full beauty and potential, even if only briefly. I don’t and I’ve run out of ways to try.

Alyssa did an excellent job in capturing the silky, starry qualities of these nocturnal beauties. I would stay awake to watch them too, hoping their mysteries would somehow unlock my own.

I don’t have any answers, only questions, but I do hope that you find one thing to smile about today.


2 The Redhead Riter August 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm

It DOES comfort me knowing that I am not alone. I think we have so much in common and that you so often know exactly how I’m feeling. {{{SUPER BIG HUGSSSSSSS}}}


3 Skip_D August 6, 2012 at 7:39 am

What amazing flowers – really striking! …& Alyssa’s photos are wonderful. Your mother is rightly proud of her beautiful flowers, & she has done a great job of cultivating them in this brutal weather, & you are fully justified to glow like a moonflower with pride at your daughter’s skill as a photographer. Altogether a beautiful, inspiring post.



4 The Redhead Riter August 7, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Thank you Skip! It HAS been brutal weather this year. I can’t believe it has been so hot for so long. We had a rainy day reprieve today and I FEEL very thankful for the cooler temperature. Hope you aren’t in the sauna for too much longer.


5 Kristi August 6, 2012 at 8:13 am

Beautiful flower. I’ve never seen one before. I won’t pretend to know what you’re going through with the PTSD. Apparently a moth has a purpose. Perhaps the PTSD has a purpose too. As you open up and share your struggles, you are able to help others going through similar issues. I’ve learned that to be true in my own experiences of living through very difficult circumstances. What the Enemy meant for harm, God means for good (Gen. 50:20). I will continue to pray for your healing through this and that God will use you and your experiences to help others.


6 The Redhead Riter August 7, 2012 at 10:46 pm

“Apparently a moth has a purpose. Perhaps the PTSD has a purpose too.” Have you been talking to my mother? LOL

“What the Enemy meant for harm, God means for good (Gen. 50:20).” It is so hard to remember that when you’re going through Hell. I know your life hasn’t always been a bed or roses either, so I really appreciate your prayers. Maybe your prayers reach God faster than mine since your voice is so beautiful. 😀


7 Kathy Morelli, LPC (@KathyAMorelli) August 6, 2012 at 9:11 am

Beautiful flowers! Sort of remind me of morning glories….. but I love the words you paired with the flowers…my mom is 91 and having some health issues, and your words struck me powerfully. thank you, Kathy


8 The Redhead Riter August 7, 2012 at 10:48 pm

My pleasure, Kathy. What a marvelous blessing to have your mother be 91! I hope her health issues improve and don’t drag her down. I hope my mother lives that long, but I think I want to go sooner. LOL Mom will probably get me for saying that the next time I see her. LOL {{{hugsssss}}}


9 Gloria Faye Brown Bates August 7, 2012 at 8:42 am

I enjoyed reading about the Moonflower. Once we lived beside an elderly couple … the lady had one… she took such special care with it. She’d be so happy when it bloomed at night. She’s gone now… but, your story brought that special memory back to remind me. We really loved them.

I am enjoying following your blog. Granny Gee/Gloria 🙂


10 The Redhead Riter August 7, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I’m so glad that you are enjoying my blog!!! I love to hear about how something on my blog brings back a pleasant memory or helps someone feel better. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment to let me know how you feel. {{{BIG hugssss}}}


11 mom August 7, 2012 at 1:07 pm

I was talking to my sister and she said, ” Oh Your moon flowers are beautiful!” I said how do you know, I have not sent you a picture yet. She then told me you blogged on them. What a great job and your photos, Alyssa, are astounding. So much like your mom.

I have not been on the computer lately because of this old body of mine. I went in the bathroom and took a shower—When I got out, I looked as if I took my skin off and put on a size too big, lol. I love you Sherry.

I stay out on the patio between 1 and 3 in the morning to see my blooms in full. I marvel at how beautiful they are to decorate the night. Thank you


12 The Redhead Riter August 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm

“I stay out on the patio between 1 and 3 in the morning” So NOW the truth comes out! No wonder you are so tired in the morning and have to sleep in later!!!!! (rolling eyes) But I’m really glad that you have the time to do it and that you have been enjoying them so much. They are really very beautiful.

As far as your “body” goes…If ONLY I can have a body as beautiful as yours when I am 68 years old!!! You are beautiful and your wonderful, loving heart shines through your eyes. No one could be more beautiful than you.


13 Barbara June 8, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Wow. I was just looking up Moonflowers as a memory from my childhood and a possible border plant for my garden. I looked at all your photos and read your whole tribute to your mother. It was very touching. Then….. I came upon your revelation of having PTSD. I started crying because I have C-PTSD and I have been having a hard time dealing with it lately. Also, my husband just lost his job and is very depressed. I think he will get a LOT out of reading your blog on Moonflowers.

Thank you for sharing and God bless.


14 Sherry Riter June 10, 2013 at 7:32 am

I’m so sorry that you both are suffering. {{{{hugssss}}} I’m glad you enjoyed Mom’s Moonflowers. 🙂


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