Posted by: lornasass | January 9, 2010

MY MAUI: POINSETTIAS SET FREE

I never thought I liked poinsettias, those predictable bright red flowering potted plants that appear every December and get limp by January.

But when I got to Maui, I began to notice how lyrical they are when planted in the earth and allowed to become the shrubs–what a great word, sounds Yiddish–they really are.

Today I visited the Enchanting Floral Gardens, an aptly named 8-acre garden that reflects the passionate gardening of a husband and wife team now in their late seventies.  There are tarmac paths wandering hither and yon through a garden of splendid plants, some of them flowering, some of them spent.  All interesting, exotic, and beguiling.

It turns out that Poinsettias are a member of the huge Euphorbia family of plants.  And who knew until reading MAUI’S FLORAL SPLENDOR by Angela Kay Kepler that “In 1820, Joel Poinsett, the first US ambassador to Mexico and an amateur botanist, became so enamored” of this plant that he shipped some cuttings back to his hometown of Charleston.

Since then, both the wild type and cultivars have spread throughout the tropical world, including this most blessed of islands, Maui.  I think I might like poinsettias after all.



Responses

  1. Loe these photos – how about that bird of paradise peeking out!

    • Yes, they’re all over the place, especially in upcountry; that’s only one reason why it’s paradise here! Got an orchid photo for you today. Will send.

  2. I often look at the lovely pictures you take. You must be a very busy lady, and it is always the ‘busy ones’ who get everything done.
    We look forward to meeting you at Whitley Bay.
    Enjoy your Maui holiday. Snow is melting here –
    at last!
    Elin

    • TX for for your comments. See you at Whitley Bay! Let’s take a nice walk together. Lorna

  3. Aloha from the Big Island – collecting your vegetarian cookbooks and came across your blog and Maui posts.
    I, too, was amazed by the free poinsettias when we moved here 15 years ago. There are 15ft hedges of them in Kona. Now I also “set them free” and plant my favorite ones around the yard. They never fail to add color for the holidays!

    • Lovely to hear from you. I miss Maui a lot! Guess you just picked yourself up and moved to Hawaii. I can understand why. Go girl!


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