Poinsettia Miracles

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Starring the close of each year and darkest, darkest night, the Poinsettia’s striking winter appearance hails worldwide wishes of generosity and good cheer.

A Plant of Many Miracles…

Love

Rooted around miracles and the power of love, Mexican legend paints a heartwarming story around the Poinsettia.  While details vary, it’s essentially about a meager child having nothing to offer the baby Jesus except some roadside weeds. Once placed on the Christmas Eve altar, however, they miraculously transformed into brilliant red and green flowers.  Can you imagine witnessing the unfolding of such beauty, like the ugly duckling turned swan, or springtime buds bursting into bloom?  You know, it’s how your heart feels when overflowing with love.  How you feel when giving (or receiving) from the heart.

Abundance

Exemplifying the giving season, Poinsettias achieved stardom once sold under the botanical name Euphorbia Pulcherrima.  Nearly 70 million plants now sell from Thanksgiving to Christmas, generating $250 million in sales.

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Diversity and Individuality

The Poinsettia garners its name for world traveler, botanist and diplomat, Joel Roberts Poinsett. He introduced the plant to the U.S. in the early 1800s after falling in love with it near Taxco Mexico.

Today, more than 100 varieties of Poinsettias range from burgundy to red, salmon to apricot, yellow to cream and white, and solid to marbled, not to mention the dyed blue and purple ones or those speckled with glitter.

 

The United States commemorates December 12th, the date of Poinsett’s death, as National Poinsettia Day.

Care

As much as I love gardening, and can rarely bear discarding any broken plant stems  (several cuttings are rooting on my windowsill now), I admit I never gave Poinsettia’s their proper care.  Sure, I didn’t toss them  after the holidays when their bracts (often called flowers) fell, and a few hung around awhile as green house plants, but I didn’t keep them in total darkness so they would turn red for the holidays next year — a process Certified Nursery Consultant, Rick LaVasseur calls photoperiodism.  A process I call a miracle if I remember to do it.

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Spirituality

Also known as the Christmas Eve Flower or Flowers of the Holy Night, some Christians symbolize the plant’s shape as the Star of Bethlehem which guided the Wise Men to Jesus, and the red color as the blood of Christ.

The meaning of the Pointsettia reflects standard Christmas and New Year wishes for Joy, Love and Hope – my universal wish for the coming year.

God gave me a memory so that I may have roses in December.  But, I have the Poinsettia too.

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Do you Expect More from Plants or People?

Some people say expectations set us up for disappointment.  But as a gardener I say, “I must have expectations for the fruits of my labor.  Otherwise, why would I plant?”  And more often than not, the final product — of abundant produce and beautiful bloomsfar exceeds my expectations.

Still, sometimes plant wilt.  Sometimes they become diseased.  Sometimes it’s excessive heat or too little rain that hinders the intended outcome.  But, while there is no guarantee, the end result is more true for plants than people.

How do you handle expectations?  Do you allow them to create a vision?  Do you have a blank slate, throw your hands up in the air and accept whatever comes?  Do you reserve expectations only for plant life or allow them to carry over to relationships?

She’s So Fine

Driving home this evening with the moon roof open and windows down, I was still savoring a glorious day with an old friend.  Kicking off the afternoon in her favorite gardening center and seeing new varieties of trees and plants made my spirits soar.

I learned that the tree I noticed on my walks this week is a Limelight Hydrangeaabsolutely beautiful!  In the next row I discovered a Firelight Hydrangea sporting  white to pomegranate colored flowers all on the same shrub — delightful!  A Dappled Willow caught my eye then the frost white needles on the Korean Fir...and flowing heart-shaped leaves on the Alley Cat and Ruby Falls Redbuds — heavenly!  Kalmia Latifolia Minuet (Mountain Laurel) surprised me while the Tricolor Beech tree was deceptively interesting.  Manhattan Euonymus and Pulminara Moonshine’s brillance drew me in and I’m already envisioning it gracing my entryway.

Thankfully, the humidity that stole Summer thus far was absent today.  I drove home in laid back contentment, drinking in the beauty of the mountains and luxuriating in the 72 degree breeze kissing my skin while gently tousling my hair.

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But, rounding the corner to a glowing sunset on the lake overwhelmed me with gratitude for the ability to see Nature’s exquisiteness.

 

 

Attention Deficit

A few days ago, I was beginning the day with Qigong in a southeasterly room — the veggie/herb garden outside the french doors to the left, a glorious view of summer flowers (albeit wet from the rain) through the window straight ahead.  (Sadly, this summer’s extreme weather has escorted my morning Qigong practice indoors.)  Sweeping my arms up and raising my head, I stopped in disbelief.  How could I have done this? 

My indoor hibiscus plant drooped over, its leaves curled and wilted.   What in the world happened?  I just watered it a week ago.  Well, I think it was a week ago.   I know this hibiscus is temperamental, always needing more water and more frequently for it to show it’s clown-red blooms.  But, it looked so bad I didn’t know if it could be revived.  I look at the other plants lined up next to it — the lily is limp.  The begonias too.  Even the Christmas Cactus feels spongy.  Oh… 

I do not “over-nurture” my plants as some others do.  We’ve had an understanding for the last 30 or so years…I give them water upon request and they flourish.  Have they all been asking and I haven’t heard?

We’ve had an unusual summer of unbearably high humidity or heavy rain.  I thought my  “indoor” houseplants would be unaffected.  (Thankfully, after giving each of them a life restoring drink, I am relieved the hibiscus is not dying from wilt disease.) 

indoor plants 001 hibiscus

You would never know of their apparent — but honestly unintentional — neglect.)

indoor plants 002 healthy plants

Still, I ponder this “wake-up” call of nature trying to tell me something.

This spring, not long after having major surgery, a cardinal began flying into our windows.  My Animal Speak book suggested he was warning me to pay more attention to my health and well-being.  So, I added Tai Chi classes several times a week, began eating more berries and nuts, and learning how to live more effectively as an HSP.   I was already walking 3 miles with some hefty inclines a few times each week but the weather put a (hopefully temporary) damper on that too.

It’s now mid-summer and we’re surprised the cardinal is not dead.  He’s relentless — flying into windows on both sides of our house — no matter what we’ve used to detract him.  The impact of his body crashing against the glass wakes me most mornings.   What is he trying to tell me?  Did he have to employ the wilted hibiscus to get my attention?