A native of the American continent, the Poinsettia was discovered in 1828 in Mexico by Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett of Charleston, South Carolina. Dr. Poinsett spent four years as the United States' first minister to that country. The Mexican people called the flower " Flor de la Noche Buena" ( Flower of the Holy Night or of Christmas Eve.) They believed that when blood fell on the earth from the broken heart of a yound girl, a Poinsettia plant grew from each drop. Dr. Poinsett took his discovery to a friend in California where the Poinsettia thrived. Today the region twenty miles north of San Diego is known as the "Poinsettia Belt."
Description: A showy species with oval to elliptical, or bold, mid-green leaves. The spectacular coloration is found in the scarlet leaf-like bracts which grow beneath the small, yellow cluster of flowers.
Care: Poinsettias need bright light to hold their color, and adequate humidity to prevent the bottom leaves from dropping off. They need good drainage and water daily.
If you want to have your Poinsettia another season try sinking the pot in a sunny garden after frost danger has passed. Prune the stemms severely, water and fertilize regularly until the cool nights arrive. Lift the pot and bring it indoors again to a cool, sunny window.
The heat of a fire starts with a match. The best matches are the wooden kitchen variety, or long fireplace matches. Wooden matches burn more slowly allowing you to place the flame carefully and accurately.
Three types of fuel are used - tinder, kindling, and logs. Tinder is highly flammable and is the first ingredient to catch fire. Good tinder includes uncolored newspaper, brown bags, wood chips, and the tips of dead pine branches. Next in line is kindling. Kindling is slower to ignite, but when it does catch, it burns long enough to set the logs on fire.
The best logs come from dense, strong deciduous trees called hardwoods. Hardwoods include oak, maple, ash, beech and birch. Fruit and nut trees such as cherry, pear, and pecan are hardwoods that burn well and emit a wonderful fragrance.
Softwoods such as pines and spruces are easier to ignite that hardwoods. They contain resin which is an extremely flammable substance. By burning these resinous logs, you would have to stoke the fire constantly. Resin, also, never burns completely and pollutes the aire while collecting on chimney walls forning creosote. If enough creosote buildup occurs, balls of fire could come shooting into your room or onto the roof.
Freshly cut wood is "green" or full of water, which makes it burn unevenly - hissing, squeaking and spewing smoke. Burning dry wood produces less smoke and ash. It takes six months to a year to dry wood properly. If you observe tiny radial cracks along the cross-sectioned surfaces, the wood is dried correctly.
Air must be present in the fire's assemblage. Build a structure of kindling and tinder that is compact enough for the flame to move from piece to piece, but loose enough that there is air space throughout it. Since fire burns upward, larger kindling should always be placed above the smaller bits, so that it catches fire from them.
With proper materials and techniques you can make your fire las throughout the long Indiana winter. So, wrap up in a warm quilt and enjoy the roar of a sizzling fire!
A deep longing for spring hits you while walking down the Indianapolis HomeShow aisles. At the sight of bright blooming tulips, daffodils, and crocuses winter can be forgotten for a minute. But flowers are not too happy peaking out before the spring thaw and landscapers have to encourage them to bloom early. With a few helpful tips you can force bulbs to produce a springtime display in your own home.
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