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Tis the season for your holiday poinsettia

Roger Boddaert

Special to the Village News

This is the holiday season to be grateful for so many things, but when the flowering poinsettia flower enters our homes, it becomes a beacon of colorful Christmas festivity and charm.

This flowering plant originated in Southern Mexico and is in the euphorbia family (euphorbia pulcherrima), and the colorful bracts are the modified leaves, not the flowers.

In 1836, Joel Roberts Poinsett was the United States ambassador to Mexico and discovered this beautiful flowering plant out in the wilds.

He took many cuttings from these plants and sent them back to his home in South Carolina, where he had begun propagating them in his greenhouses.

In Mexico, it is called Flor de Nochebuena or Christmas Eve Flower.

Poinsettia changes its color in response to shorter winter daylight hours, referred to as photoperiodism.

You can find poinsettias around this holiday season to fit into almost any decorative theme inside the home or at the front door to greet your holiday guests.

They range from the traditional reds to creamy white, pinks, variegated, orange, yellow and the many hybrids that have been developed over the years.

Some have mottled flowers, others look like a rosebud with curly bracts, and some look like they have been sprinkled with a splash of shimmering fairy glitter. One of my favorites is named Jingle Bells and is a two-toned poinsettia.

The growing of poinsettias today is a complex science with multiple timing layers to adhere to in the detailed growing process.

We owe a great deal of appreciation to the renowned Paul Ecke flower company for its ongoing development of this top-selling potted plant for the Christmas season around the world.

I remember the Ecke poinsettia flower fields in West Los Angeles when I lived there. It was one of those Sunday outings with Mom and Dad to see these exotic flowers around this time of year, that to this day remains vivid in my memory bank of yesteryear.

Today poinsettia plants are produced all over the world in greenhouses, and I recently learned that in San Marcos, California, one grower has grown over two million flowering plants to be shipped across the country this holiday season.

These flowering plants lend themselves to the Christmas season along with the holiday tree, garland, wreaths, hot cocoa, and chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

As the days get shorter and the holidays rush towards us, don't we all crave a little pause? Stop and smell the fresh pine wreath hanging on your welcoming door.

Our gardens can teach us so much about the value of time, which is evident in the miracle in the season's flora and how it develops month by month and season by season. The garden can be your sanctuary if you just spend a few precious moments communicating with nature, and it can be calming to your soul amid the pressures of today's outside world.

A potted poinsettia in the home, a fresh evergreen wreath, and garland hanging around the door, and your Christmas tree layered with keepsake ornaments, can all bring cheer for the holiday season.

Time has become valuable in our daily lives, so appreciate the wonders of the holiday, hanging out with family, and munching on that gifted fruitcake.

Enjoy these moments as the seasons turn while counting your blessings daily, and value your time as we near the turning of a new leaf into the coming seasons. And maybe it's time to read the classic “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dicken.

May you and yours enjoy this glorious season filled with joy, peace, and poinsettias.

Roger Boddaert is a landscape designer, horticulturist, arborist, floral decorator who can be reached at 760-728-4297.


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