One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

Yuletide Magic

A couple of Februarys ago, a friend presented me with a tiny pink poinsettia which had seen better days.  She wondered if I could save the poor thing.

It didn’t look very hopeful, I confess.   The poor thing had been rapid-grown in some Franken-nursery for the holiday season and had almost no root structure to support it.   There were three or four green leaves and maybe as many pink ones.

But I do love a challenge and so I carefully watered it through the winter and when Spring came, I brought it home and moved it into a slightly larger pot with fresh soil.   It was a surprise to discover it’s feeble root system was growing through the foam core it had been seeded into.   It did reasonably well in the summer sunshine, as poinsettias will do.   I’ve had success with planting them out into sunny borders in summers past; they bush out nicely, but generally, they’ve died at summer’s end when a surprise frost got them before I could repot them for wintering indoors.

This one I’ve kept containered, summering on the porch the last two summers and then coming in to a sunny southern windown this time of year.   This past summer the plant seemed to falter a little, perhaps from too much rain early on.  When autumn came, I was just happy it was still alive and didn’t give much thought to asking it to bloom this winter.

I’ve read in the past tricks and techniques for getting one’s poinsettia to rebloom.    The production of red bracts is a product of reduced levels of sunlight and in order to encourage them to bloom in time for the Christmas season, I’ve read all kinds of instructions for covering them with black plastic, or stowing them in dark closets for part of each day.

Unfortunately, I’m a visual sort of guy.  If my plant’s in a closet out of sight, I’m just as likely to forget about it altogether.  This means no water, no sunlight and e’relong, no plant.   I know this from past experience.    I’ve been tempted by this proposition before.  So I was more concerned with whether the plant was going to rebound at all, much less do anything fancy.

You can imagine, then,  my surprise this morning when I discovered my little planty was doing it all on it’s on, and at just the right time of year.  Yippee!!

Now…I don’t want you to worry about the Gray Catsby.   Yes, we know all about poinsettias being poisonous, but I’m pleased to say he’s a rather bright kitty and seems only to have a taste for long, thin grasslike leaves.   I keep this plant out of his general flight pattern and he seems as happy to avoid it.

2011 has been a good year for me, even though I’ve not been much on documenting that here.   There’s been good work to do, plants to tend, kitties to snuggle, great music, good theatre, a whiff or two of Romance and  an abundance of opportunities to celebrate Life in the company of friends new and old.   There are probably a few stories to share, and probably a few photos.   Who knows just what you might hear from me as the Winter unfurls before us.

Meanwhile, I hope December finds you and yours well.   Whatever holiday you’ll be celebrating, may it bring you much love, laughter and light.


Comments on: "Yuletide Magic" (4)

  1. I had one for 6 years and never could get it to bloom. Good for you!

  2. God bless us, every one.”

    Happy Christmas to you, my friend, your thumb and all things green!

  3. I came for the snow. ;)

  4. If anyone could save that plant, you’d be the man. And I’m glad you said something about feline safety, or I would have had to say something, worrier that I am.

    I’m glad you can look back on all of 2011 as a great year. I was concerned that the 51 weeks that didn’t include our visit would have been a letdown. ;-)

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