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Poinsettia… a long lasting living Christmas decoration

In many households in the run-up to Christmas, the Poinsettia is as much a family tradition as the Christmas tree. Its cheerful splash of colour brightens up many a dark December mood, but that’s not the only reason it’s popular. The Poinsettia (also called the Christmas Star in many languages) requires very little care. And, if you follow these guidelines, you can keep it a happy part of your family long into the New Year. Treat it kindlyJust like any family member, your Poinsettia needs a bit of affection. It doesn’t like sitting in deep water - too much water can often result in discolouration or loss of leaves. It’s more dangerous to water it too much than too little; even if it’s looking thirsty, with droopy leaves, a drop of water will suffice. While it’s blooming, water your plant once every two days to keep it happy. In order to counteract the build-up of spots and brown edges on the leaves you can add a standard indoor plant food once a month. What to look for when buyingChoosing the right Poinsettia is also important. All the love and attention in the world won’t help if your Poinsettia doesn’t meet the best quality standards straight out of the store, which is why you should always look very closely when choosing it. The best choice is a plant that doesn’t show any visible damage and has thick foliage and budding flowers which, contrary to popular belief, are not the colourful star-shaped top leaves but the small buds in their centre. You should also take note of where the Poinsettias are located in the shop when buying them. Never buy a Poinsettia positioned in a busy, and draughty, doorway for instance. The moisture of the potting soil should be checked to ensure that the plant has been given enough water and the retailer should wrap it up for you to take home to protect it from the cold. And remember, if it’s a gift don’t leave it in the car or garage overnight.  [...]
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Poinsettias for every generation

Living decorations make Christmas what it is
For most families, Christmas is rich with tradition and the preparations often start weeks in advance to make sure everything is perfect so that by Christmas Eve a quiet surrounds everywhere and families join peacefully together. Part of the tradition will often include the purchase of a Poinsettia… the must-buy flowering plant for Christmas. But while the tradition may have started with your Granny, with a bit of imagination and creativity, you can do all sorts of things with this winter-blooming flower to make a completely individual and totally modern Christmas decoration to tie in with the rest of your decoration theme. While it may have been Prince Albert who first introduced the classic Christmas tree to the UK from his German/Austrian homeland, these days everyone has a tree… be it a traditional fir or a modern interpretation on a theme, ranging from upside down black plastic ones to white light festooned, lichen covered branches.  Because whilst some elements of Christmas may change, especially as children grow up and dispense with Advent calendars and stockings, trees and Poinsettia plants stay a constant… just adapted to suit modern day styling. Red and gold are still the most classic Christmas colours but silver and white is increasingly popular. Some trees will carry a single theme - like bows or plain baubles - others will be a complete mash up of every home-made decoration.  And there are no rules on when the tree goes up these days. Tradition says it should be done on Christmas Eve but who can wait that long!  1st December is the earliest if you want to avoid too much needle drop but it should really be when you start your Advent Ring. [...]
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Anything but conventional

The time is always right for a change. We must never let ourselves get bored, even in our own homes. This doesn’t always mean shifting around the furniture. Sometimes simply a new decoration is enough for an entirely new look. It makes a change and creates different perspectives and a new atmosphere. [...]
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