Flower power

For­est Glen Green­houses in­vites vis­i­tors to a poin­set­tia open house

Truro Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - BY LYNN CURWIN [email protected]­daily.com

Judy Thomp­son is sur­rounded by poin­set­tias while she’s at work this time of year. She in­vites the pub­lic to take in the sea of red dur­ing the For­est Glen Green­houses open house Nov. 23, 24 and 25.

She’s sur­rounded by thou­sands of poin­set­tias through­out her work­day, but the plants haven’t lost their charm for Judy Thomp­son.

“As much work as they are, I still love them,” she said. “They mean Christ­mas to me.”

Op­er­at­ing For­est Glen Green­houses, she sees about 50,000 poin­set­tias grow each year, and for three days each Novem­ber the pub­lic is in­vited to stop in and see them.

“It’s a way of giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity,” said Thomp­son. “We see them ev­ery day, so it’s nice to see other peo­ple come in and be over­whelmed with the colour.”

The open house, which is held Nov. 23 to 25, gives vis­i­tors a chance to shop for a plant while en­joy­ing hol­i­day sweets, hot cider, mu­sic and fes­tive dé­cor. The event draws about 3,000 peo­ple over the three days.

Hav­ing the poin­set­tias ready for the hol­i­day sea­son be­gins early in the year. They ar­rive as cut­tings in July, and af­ter months of care ship­ping to At­lantic Su­per­stores across the Mar­itimes be­gins in mid-novem­ber.

“We want peo­ple to know those plants are lo­cally grown,” said Thomp­son. “We also like to let peo­ple know how to care for them.

“Some­times I see peo­ple car­ry­ing them to their car with­out pro­tec­tion from the cold, and that’s not a good start. You have to pro­tect them in some­thing like a plas­tic sleeve when you take them out­side.”

Once it’s home, the poin­set­tia should be re­moved from the plas­tic sleeve and placed in an area away from drafts or di­rect heat. It re­quires a well-lit area, but not di­rect sun­light.

“It’s a short-day plant, which means it needs short days to flower,” ex­plained Thomp­son. “A lot of ar­ti­fi­cial light­ing isn’t good ei­ther. If you put a poin­set­tia in a room where you have lights on all even­ing it won’t do well.”

The plants should be wa­tered if the soil is dry to the touch, but they don’t like to have their roots in wa­ter.

Although poin­set­tias have a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing poi­sonous, they’re only mildly toxic, and be­cause of their bit­ter taste pets and chil­dren are un­likely to try eat­ing them. The cats at For­est Glen Green­houses roam freely through the plants and have never been ad­versely af­fected by the plants.

In­cluded in the 10th an­nual open house dis­plays, there will be four “live poin­set­tia trees” and about 30 other dec­o­rated trees.

LYNN CURWIN/TRURO NEWS

LYNN CURWIN/TRURO NEWS

A lit­tle glit­ter ap­plied by Judy Thomp­son adds to the fes­tive ap­peal for the poin­set­tias at For­est Glen Green­houses in Brook­field. The plants are lightly sprayed with a spe­cial glue to en­sure the glit­ter sticks.

LYNN CURWIN/TRURO NEWS

One of the poin­set­tias is ar­ranged in a pot. About 50,000 poin­set­tias are grown at For­est Glen Green­houses each year.

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