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Tales from a Plant Addict

Fun (& a few serious) facts, tips and tricks for every gardener, new and old.

Black-eyed Peas and the New Year

There are many superstitions surrounding the coming of the New Year. Many cultures have traditions encouraging consumption of certain foods to "guarantee" luck in the coming year. Some of these traditions have become more or less part of mainstream America–one of these is eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. There are many variations on the Southern tradition of eating black-...

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O Christmas Tree

You would never know it by looking around at our community today, but having a Christmas tree in the home is a relatively new concept in the U.S. The Germans are commonly credited with starting the tradition of Christmas trees, but use of evergreen branches in and around the home during the dark winter months has ancient origins. Many pagan beliefs commonly described winter as...

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Poinsettia’s Popularity

The poinsettia's introduction to the U.S. in the 1800's as a novel new plant was a far cry from its popularity today. How in the world did a wild plant from Mexico become a fixture in many American homes during the holidays? Much of the poinsettia's popularity today is credited to Paul Ecke Sr., of Califor...

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Poinsettia History

Have you ever wondered why the poinsettia is considered by many to be "The Christmas Flower"? If it weren't for an observant U.S. ambassador, the poinsettia, or Euphorbia pulcherrima would have remained a plant of Mexican and Central American medicine and legend rather than the Christmas decorati...

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Japanese Yew Taxus cuspidata

Sometimes a plant commonly used in the landscape looks entirely different when allowed to grow to its full potential. In my opinion, Japanese Yew is one of those plants. Growing up, I spent many hours with my dad helping to trim the yews in front of the house that stand about three feet tall. I never thought about them being any bigger. To me, they looked like green meatballs and took way too m...

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