Saturday, January 22, 2011


The season isn't even right for this entry, but if you stick with us, you'll learn more about poinsettias than you either wanted or needed to know.

I was inspired by seeing this group of plants about to be put out to pasture or whatever in the world gets done with poinsettias after the holiday. One year when I had the store I took the time to cut each bract (what we think of as petals, only they aren't) into a heart shape, thereby creating a Valentine plant. We in retail dash from one holiday to another and Valentine's Day comes next.

And then, right around the corner from the Manor parking lot, I spied this which used to be a common sight in Southern California before the Birds of Paradise took over the title of the ubiquitous plant of the area.

Our own potted plant which Nadine gave us ahead of Christmas, is ending its life in an unusual manner. It's dropping one leaf at a time, one bract at a time, but as long as it holds on, I'm going to leave our little cheerful wooden sign leaning against the pot.

Actually, it may end up being a Valentine's Day plant.

We visited the nursery in Encinitas which produces many of the world's poinsettia plants. It was mind boggling. Mr. Bob and I were too busy deciding which plant to buy to take time to sit on the poinsettia throne, but I snapped a picture of it when 2 of the ladies on our outing took advantage of the opportunity.

Nearly everyone buys such a plant for himself during December. Even the carwash (above) and most of the households of my acquaintance. I used them in quantity in the store and used to fret a bit lest a child ingest part of a plant but of late we're told that poinsettias are not poisonous. Whew!

I had Mr. Bob dig out our copy of a Leo Politi book entitled "The Poinsettia". He's so good natured when I ask that sort of thing of him. It was not an easy task and he did it with no complaint whatsoever. I'd have said, "You want me to do WHAT?" He's a far better person than I am.

 The book chronicles many of the holiday celebrations that take place in and around Los Angeles. To think we purchased this book 40 years ago when it seems just yesterday. That's the sort of thing you hear a lot at the Manor as we oldsters wonder where in the world the time has gone. It's a reminder to make the most of each and every day.

If you progressed this far, you're a trooper. Many thanks.


  1. One more time yes... and thank you!

  2. Well, I will tell you that I have purchased poinsettias almost every year. Often when I drive by a home in the spring and poinsettias are still alive I wonder at how any one manages that miracle. This year I tried a new trick. I dug holes in the ground and inserted my plastic planted prizes right into my garden. I hurriedly brought them into the garage during the coldest, windiest,wettest weather and trotted them back out when life seemed more suitable. One by one they have dropped their leaves and dried to a crisp in spite of my tender care. I don't care. Next year I'll try another trick or two as it is just not the holidays to me if I don't have poinsettias.
    T.O. Joanne

  3. My grandmother had a poinsettia bush that grew happily next to her front door and looked much like the one you posted. I suspect the secret was its protected location that allowed huge amounts of light and warmth--since they are natives of Mexico. Mariachi music couldn't hurt, since they probably long for home.

    I would guess that the secret to poinsettias is the same as the well-kept secret for happy, hardy African violets---give them LOTS of space to grow!!!! Free them from those plastic pots and don't fuss over them too much.

    Jane, the book is a treasure! I hope you'll bring it next time we gather! What an artistic signature!

    Would you consider clipping your plant into a Valentine shape and sharing it on your blog?

    Lovely idea!!!

    , Lisa said.

  4. Edie in Indiana wrote:

    What a unique book signing he did! I like it!

  5. From John in Colorado

    Jane, The Boulder County Uitarian Fellowship gave me a huge poinsettia probablly ouy of respect for my wife who was a supporter of the Fellowship Mary Jean passed away on 23 Oct, 2010. It was so big I didn't know how to dispose of it. The cleaning lady put it in a big plastic bag and took it away. Thank you cleaning lady.
    I'm not sure I've learned how to act in public.

  6. Hi Jane & Bob -- nice story. It was fun meeting you by accident the other night!

    I've grown poinsettias in ever larger and larger pots, up to about 3 years. They never bloom well after leaving the nursery. My parents had a poinsettia "bush" in the back yard that would grow each year to over 10 feet and have double blooms. It was gorgeous!

    Your book has lovely illustrations. Seems like that quality of drawing is a thing of the past. Do you think this is true?


  7. I think there are still illustrators who turn out beautiful work or at least to my taste. I do think we're in the age of "ugly" ...........the Simpsons, bed hair, etc. Good to see you at the Wok.