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Legend Of The Poinsettia

Poinsettias at Christmas 

A Poinsettia flower

Poinsettia plants are native to Central America, especially an area of southern Mexico known as ‘Taxco del Alarcon’ where they flower during the winter. The ancient Aztecs called them ‘cuetlaxochitl’. The Aztecs had many uses for them including using the flowers (actually special types of leaves known as bracts rather than being flowers) to make a purple dye for clothes and cosmetics and the milky white sap was made into a medicine to treat fevers. (Today we call the sap latex!)

The poinsettia was made widely known because of a man called Joel Roberts Poinsett (that’s why we call them Poinsettia!). He was the first Ambassador from the USA to Mexico in 1825. Poinsett had some greenhouses on his plantations in South Carolina, and while visiting the Taco area in 1828, he became very interested in the plants. He immediately sent some of the plants back to South Carolina, where he began growing the plants and sending them to friends and botanical gardens.

One of the friends he sent plants to was John Bartram of Philadelphia. At the first Philadelphia flower show, Robert Buist, a plants-man from Pennsylvania saw the flower and he was probably the first person to have sold the poinsettias under their botanical, or latin name, name ‘Euphorbia pulcherrima’ (it means, ‘the most beautiful Euphorbia’). They were first sold as cut flowers. It was only in the early 1900s that they were sold as whole plants for landscaping and pot plants. The Ecke family from Southern California were one of, if not, the first to sell them as whole plants and they’re still the main producer of the plants in the USA. It is thought that they became known as Poinsettia in the mid 1830s when people found out who had first brought them to America from Mexico.

There is an old Mexican legend about how Poinsettias and Christmas come together, it goes like this:

There was once a poor Mexican girl called Pepita who had no present to give the the baby Jesus at the Christmas Eve Services. As Pepita walked to the chapel, sadly, her cousin Pedro tried to cheer her up.
‘Pepita’, he said “I’m sure that even the smallest gift, given by someone who loves him will make Jesus Happy.”

Pepita didn’t know what she could give, so she picked a small handful of weeds from the roadside and made them into a a small bouquet. She felt embarrassed because she could only give this small present to Jesus. As she walked through the chapel to the altar, she remembered what Pedro had said. She began to feel better, knelt down and put the bouquet at the bottom of the nativity scene. Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into bright red flowers, and everyone who saw them were sure they had seen a miracle. From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the ‘Flores de Noche Buena’, or ‘Flowers of the Holy Night’.

The shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes thought as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. The red colored leaves symbolize the blood of Christ. The white leaves represent his purity.

The Poinsettia is also the national emblem of Madagascar.

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Magnolia Bark: Your Go-To Herb For Sleep & Anxiety

“I am a big fan of magnolia for sleep,” says Michael Breus, Ph.D., a board-certified sleep specialist. “It works as an anxiety reducer, and several of my patients have commented to me that it helps them ‘turn off their brain.'”

Its ability to ‘turn off the brain’ (or at least calm it down) has benefits beyond the bedroom, too. In addition to aiding in restful zzz’s, magnolia bark is also used to help manage stress and anxiety, protect brain health, and treat depression. It’s also been shown to reduce inflammation and inflammation-related pain, help manage diabetes, improve dental health, and even potentially prevent certain cancers.

Here’s what you need to know about magnolia—where it comes from, what it does, how to take it, and more.

What is magnolia?

While supplements are commonly referred to simply as magnolia, they usually contain magnolia bark (magnolia itself refers to a class of about 240 flowering tree and shrub species). The plant is native to North and South America, the Himalayas, and East Asia; and Magnolia has a particularly strong connection to Chinese herbal medicine (which utilizes both the flowers and the bark).

Among other bioactive compounds, the bark contains magnolol and honokiol, which are largely to thank for many of magnolia bark’s benefits.

Magnolia bark for sleep.

Magnolia bark’s most widely known application is helping with sleep—research has found that magnolia bark can help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and increase the amount of time spent in both REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep, which are both important in restorative rest.

There are several mechanisms behind its sedative effects. Notably, magnolia bark boosts the neurotransmitter GABA, or gamma-Aminobutyric acid. “GABA is like the brakes of the brain,” says Breus. “When GABA is elicited, then your whole being starts to slow down, which obviously is something that you want for sleep.”

This is the same way that powerful prescription sleep aids like Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata work. “They are all GABA receptor agonists, meaning they increase the amount of GABA in your system, and magnolia bark basically hits the same receptors that Ambien does,” says Breus.

Magnolia bark also helps promote better sleep through the body’s internal endocannabinoid system, which is a system of neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors to tell the brain to slow down. Magnolia bark actually activates these cannabinoid receptors, says Breus. This is similar to the way CBD oil works (CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the non-psychoactive properties found in cannabis that helps the body and brain relax).

Another way magnolia bark aids in sleep is by reducing the stress hormone adrenaline, which helps control the fight-or-flight response (which, hopefully, doesn’t need to be in action when you’re dozing off). “Right as you’re falling asleep, you really want adrenaline to be as low as possible,” says Breus. By reducing adrenaline and other stress hormones like cortisol, magnolia bark can help you doze off peacefully.

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How to Plant Fall Flower Bulbs

Tulips – fall Planted garden
Planting flower bulbs is fast, easy, and nearly foolproof.
Fall bulbs are loved by both beginner and master gardeners, there are so few issues to consider. Gardeners can put all their effort into the fun part of gardening — design.

Fall allows a “second season” of planting for spring blooming bulbs. Planting in the fall allows a jumpstart to spring growth. The cool weather helps to make a more enjoyable experience for working outside in the garden and requires less watering. The cooler weather allows spring blooming bulbs to winter over, this is important in order for bulbs to provide beautiful spring cheerful blooms.

When bulbs arrive. Bulbs should be planted as soon as the ground is cool, when evening temperatures average between 40° to 50 deg; F. You should plant at least 6-8 weeks before the ground freezes. This is most common in cold climates (zones 1-7). You can, if necessary, store bulbs for a month or longer, if you keep them in a cool dry place. Planting fall bulbs in warm climates (zones 8-11) such as Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus, Hyacinths, Grape Hyacinths, Scilla, and Snowdrops, require pre-chilling in order to bloom. To pre-chill, leave bulbs in their bags and place in a refrigerator for 6-10 weeks.

Be careful not to store bulbs near fruit, especially apples, all ripening fruit give off ethylene gas. Ethylene gas can damage and or kill the flower inside the bulb. Once bulbs are chilled plant them at the coolest time of the year. Most importantly bulbs won’t last till next season, so make sure to plant them.

Read the label. Try to keep the label together with the bulbs until planting. Without the label, you can’t tell the red tulips from the white ones just by looking at the bulbs.
Where to plant. You can plant bulbs just about anywhere in your garden as long as the soil drains well. The Dutch say, “bulbs don’t like wet feet.” So, avoid areas where water collects, such as the bottom of hills. Bulbs like sun and in many areas the spring garden can be very sunny, since the leaves on the trees are not out yet. So keep in mind when planting in the fall that you can plant in many places for spring blooms.
Prepare the planting bed. Dig soil so it’s loose and workable. If it’s not an established garden bed, chances are the soil could use the addition of some organic matter such as compost or peat moss. These are available at most local garden retailers.



How to Plant Bulbs – Step by Step Instructions
Tulip Bulbs – Pointy end up

Tulip Bulbs - Pointy end up

Step 1: Loosen soil in the planting bed to a depth of at least 8”. Remove any weeds, rocks or other debris. You can mix in compost, other organic matter or slow releasing fertilizer if your soil lacks nutrients.

Step 2: Depending on the bulb, follow the recommendation on the label for planting depth. As a general rule, plant big bulbs about 8″ deep and small bulbs about 5″ deep. Set the bulb in the hole pointy side up or the roots down. It’s easy to spot the pointy end of a tulip; tougher with a crocus. If you can’t figure out the top from the bottom, plant the bulb on its side, in most cases, even if you don’t get it right, the flower bulb will still find its way topside.

Step 3: Now that the bulbs are planted, back fill with soil over the hole, lightly compress the soil but do not pack it. Water to stimulate root growth. There is no need to water continuously unless you live in an area with low precipitation in the winter months.

Aftercare in the Spring
Fertilizing: For bulbs that are intended to naturalize (return for several years) or for bulbs that are coming into their second year, spread an organic fertilizer such as compost, or a slow release bulb food on top of the soil.

Pruning: When the flowers have completed blooming, cut the flower head off but do not cut the foliage. Bulbs will use the foliage to gather nutrients from the sun and store for the following seasons. Once the foliage have turned yellow or brown you can cut them to ground level.

Plant bulbs in clusters. If you plant one bulb alone, or make a long thin line along the walk, the impact is less desirable. Clusters give a concentration of color for greatest impact. Even if you don’t have enough bulbs for a big bed, small clusters can make a super spring show.

Plant low bulbs in front of high. This is a good general rule for bulbs that bloom at the same time. Of course there are times to break this rule. For example if the low growing bulbs bloom early and the tall bulbs bloom late, plant the tall in front. Their display will camouflage the dying foliage of the smaller bulbs!.

Try a double-decker effect. You can plant small bulbs in a layer right on top of large bulbs. If you plant bulbs that flower in the same period you can create an interesting double-decker effect. Or you can stagger the bloom time by planting mid- and late-season bloomers together, creating a spring display that blooms in succession, for a whole season of color!

In the end, what you do with fall bulbs is limited only by your imagination. A few hours one brisk autumn afternoon can yield months of colorful excitement in your yard or garden next spring.

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Boss’s Day

Boss’s Day

Boss’s Day is a holiday which is celebrated either on October 16th or on the working day which is the closest to it if it falls on a weekend. This day is not only observed in the United States but is also observed in Canada, India and Lithuania. The purpose of this day is so employees can show their boss some appreciation. As an observance, it is not a nationwide public holiday and not schools, government buildings or businesses are closed on that day.

History of Boss’s Day

Boss’s Day can be traced back to 1958. This is when an employee of State Farm Insurance Co. in Deerfield, Illinois, Patricia Bays Haroski, decided to register the holiday with the U.S Chamber of Commerce. She chose October 16th as the day that the holiday should be observed because it was also the day of her father’s birthday. The purpose of her creating this holiday was not only to honor her own boss but so all employees could honor their bosses. She also believed that Boss’s Day would become instrumental in improving employer-employee relations. In 1962, Illinois Governor Otto Kerner learned of the holiday and officially proclaimed the day as an observance. While it may have originated as an American holiday, interest in Boss’s Day began to spread outside of the U.S. Nowadays, it is being observed in India, Lithuania, Australia and South Africa.

Boss’s Day Customs & Celebrations

Traditionally, Boss’s Day is celebrated by an employee giving their boss or supervisor a card. However, in recent years gifts given on Boss’s Day have begun to become a little bigger than just a card. People are giving flowers, candy and chocolates, and some offices are pooling their money together to buy even bigger gifts. 

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How To:

The design it yourself Tropical Sunset floral arrangement has Helicona Caribea, Heliconia Psittacorum, red ginger, Song of India, ti leaf, maraca ginger, echevaria succulents, and palm leaf. Using florist foam, you can easily create an intricate, beautiful design.

I usually do my tropical arrangements in florist foam, the blooms tend to be heavy and this will give a better control over the design and shape. Soak the flower foam completely in water that has had flower food added to the water. Let soak for 20 -30 minutes before starting.

I like using a solid colored vase or ceramic container, this way you can hide the floral foam. Using a sharp long knife cut your floral foam to fit your container, flush to the top of the container.

Tropical flowers tend to be large , bright vertical blooms that last for a couple of weeks. Prep you stems by cleaning off all excess leaves that may be under water so all you have left is the blooms on top of the big thick stems.

The best way to approach your design is to think architecturally. You will want to create an “L” shape by starting with a backdrop of a couple of ti leafs and palms and a few leaves around the top of the container. Then start at the highest point you want to make your arrangement, cutting your first stem to that height and insert into the foam. You should put your stems deep enough in the foam, a few inches so that stems stay in place.

Continue putting in your other flowers by grouping them in staggered heights so you can see each bloom from several sides.

Put a few blooms at a horizontal angle as well, like I’ve done with the red gingers, this will create some width to the look.

Then finish with a large headed bloom cut down low and tucked in the base, like I’ve done with the succulent head. This will carry your eyes from the top, down to the base of the arragnment.

Once you’ve put finished , wipe the leaves and blooms with leaf shine, this will clean up any water marks and help the blooms retain water.

Private and group classes are available.

Remember To Leave A Special Message With The Flowers In The Order Notes Dismiss