Learning Late In Life

When I was 16 years young, I started delivering flowers for a florist in Truro, Nova Scotia, my home town. Mrs. Chase had owned this shop, Suckling and Chase on Prince Street for about thirty years at the time, and she gave me the job to help Winston Embree, who was the driver and a few years older than me. In time, I would follow Winston and become a driver, especially for Christmas... a very busy part of the year.

One of the things I learned back then, was that in order to make Poinsettias bloom, you had to keep them in the dark for several months before Christmas... and you had to be really careful not to let them get cold, or break a stem. The stem thing was really bad... they would bleed a latex like substance... bleed to death!

Well, even though I learned a lot about flowers there, even some arranging, it took until Lynnda and I moved into our digs here in Florida that I learned that sometimes things you learn early, don't hold-up in real life... the poinsettia story for example.

When we arrived here in late October we started working on our gardens. We got to know our neighbors, Bill and Martin. They have beautiful gardens, and we watched as various things started blooming... looking for cool things to put into our gardens... one week, a series of red blooms began to appear in their front garden... and they continued to bloom, and bloom... and then we realized that they are an it... a very large Poinsettia!

Turns out, they had a plant for a Christmas decoration... and didn't want to throw it out. They stuck it in the ground a few years ago and now it is a WOW!

A few days later, mysteriously, a couple of blooms broke off our outside display of poinsettias mixed with white chrysanthemums. Lynnda just took the broken branches and stuck them in the ground, in similar light to that at Bill and Martin's. They wilted for a couple of days... then perked up... and now we have the start to what will be a Christmas regular... Poinsettia.

Sooooo, what did I learn... well, turns out that you get the poinsettia up there in cold country, but they keep them in the dark in order to keep them blooming through Christmas, not to make them bloom. Also, I learned that the "bleeding to death" isn't true... they seal off and thrive, if you can get them to Florida in time. Also, if you put them in a warm house, with light... they start to pass on, relatively quickly.

So, if you have one, keep it away from the heaters, and keep it moist... it will last a long time... but if you put it outside... up north, it won't!


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