Friday, December 4, 2015

You Gotta Love the Things

Bracts of red and leaves of green — first line of a poinsettia poem.  I was hoping to celebrate this amazingly popular Christmas decoration in rhyme, but that’s all I came up with. I tried, but once I had the image in my head I couldn’t go any further.

Regular readers know of my difficulty accepting the poinsettia as a plant, even though it is one, yet each year at this time I feel compelled to provide a little information that, if nothing else, might help keep everyone’s favourite centerpiece alive long enough to contribute to the spirit of the season.

I wrote last December of how I felt I’d come to grips with my phobia, of how I’d turned a corner, learned at last to accept the omnipresence of poinsettias, but by Boxing Day my usual disaffection had returned. 

I just can’t help it. I mean, who else has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal in an article glorifying the plant’s qualities as someone with an opposing opinion?

That bit of negative exposure sure ruled out any thought of Christmas shopping trips to Buffalo. I had visions of wanted posters at the border with me holding a poinsettia in one hand and a can of Roundup in the other.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy everything else about Christmas. The joy, the goodwill to all, and especially my mother-in-law’s mince pies, but I just can’t bring myself to embrace the poinsettia. It isn’t easy. 

Just last weekend I was at a Christmas dance and had to leave the dance floor in a hurry when the DJ began awarding you know what as spot prizes.

Regardless, I have a duty here, so despite any misgivings on my part, and the fact that at this very moment there is a poinsettia within arms reach of practically every person on this continent, here is everything you need to know to keep them looking happy and healthy, at least until Boxing Day.

First remove the garish foil from around the pot or at least poke holes in the bottom and set the pot on a saucer otherwise excess water can rot the roots. Locate in a sunny window, but not against the glass. Maintain at a daytime temperature of 18 to 21C and if possible move to a cooler place at night, but no cooler than 15C, again to avoid root rot. Water well when the surface is dry to the touch. Poinsettias don’t tolerate drafts so keep them away from air registers and doorways.

Bracts of red and leaves of green . . . take em away, they shouldn’t be seen — not bad.

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