Patsy Panther enjoys her garden in Pukepoto Road, Kaitaia, taking particular delight in the cactus flowers that brighten it from time to time. It's a pleasure that must be tempered with patience, however.

She was keen to show off two spectacular Hylocercus undatus flowers on Tuesday, and anxious that the display be captured for posterity before it was too late.

The cactus didn't flower every year, she said, and when it the blooms opened at night and didn't last long. Twelve hours was about it.

The picture above shows two blooms that opened on Monday evening, which she expected to begin wilting by mid-Tuesday morning. The specimen in the centre had been open in all its glory the day before, and by Tuesday morning had collapsed.


Patsy wasn't the only fan of the fleeting blooms though. Bumble bees were very keen on them, she said, but, like her, had to be quick off the mark to make the most of them.