Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Poinsettia That Won't Die

It’s June and the poinsettia Kurt bought me for Christmas is still kicking. It even has some new leaves on it. I should take the foil wrapper and red ribbon off the pot because it is getting a little ridiculous. I don’t really like it here anymore, in the corner, like a ghost. It reminds me of Christmas at a time when my daughter smells like coconut suntan lotion and Off. It is contradictory. It is not good for my chi. It is bad fung shui.

But I can’t throw it away because, chi or no chi, killing it is also bad karma. I can’t kill it. I feel sorry for it. It’s alive. Kurt suggested planting it outside but I’m pretty sure it’s tropical and wouldn’t survive. That would be passive-aggressive if I put it outside on the deck. I decided to talk to the brothers Dewey and Fred, who live in the doublewide and who built a greenhouse out of a kit they ordered through the mail. They know about flowers. They would know what to do with it. Maybe they would take it off my hands. Or I could leave it down by the Dumpster with a note around its neck, “Please Take Me Home.”

”Wheel,” Dewey took off his Southern States cap and scratched his head. “If it was me Miss Van Cleaf, (it’s Van Cleave, not cleaf, but he can’t get that straight just like he can’t stop calling me “Miss” even though I told him, “Just call me Debi.”—of course I kind of like it—it’s charming.) “If it was me, Ida thrown that thing out right around New Year’s Day. Yes I woulda. Y’all want us to come and git it for you?”

You’d think we were talking about a troublesome animal, a possum in the barn perhaps or a squirrel in the swimming pool. Just in case I didn’t believe him, Dewey turned to his brother and said, “Fred, tell Miss Van Cleaf what you woulda done with that poinsettia, would you?”

Fred wiped his hands on a rag he’d taken from the back pocket of his pants and came closer. “I woulda throwed it out too Dewey.”

Since the brothers were no help, I considered giving up and keeping the thing till next Christmas. It’d save Kurt some money since he gets me one every year. I’d pretty much just ignore it like I had been doing. Now and then I walk by with a glass of water in my hand and if I think about it, I stop and pour it in. Maybe it’ll make it till Christmas. Of course the minute I resign myself to its life, it’ll croak.


Becky Mushko said...

Mine died in March. Once I kept a poinsettia going for a couple of years, though.

What you do to make it look more seasonal is plant a few petunias (or maybe geraniums) in its pot. Then it'll be a respectable summer porch plant.

CountryDew said...

I have this vague recollection of my mother putting poinsettias in the closet for a while, to make them go dormant, and then bringing them out again in the fall so they would be in bloom by Christmas. But I am not sure of that. It was a long time ago.

Amy Hanek said...

I have always worried my unusually healthy poinsettas would live on beyond January. I have a brown thumb though and it will die - most likely of thirst - before I have a chance to take those darn Xmas lights down.

To tell you the truth, I think I stop watering it, subconscienously, on purpose.

Amy Tate said...

Debi, you make me laugh! I can just picture you looking at the Poinsettia and scrunching your nose. I was getting my hair trimmed the other day at a place off of Brambleton Ave. and my hairdresser had one that looked like a bush - it was huge! Maybe they added some miracle grow to them last December!

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Countrydew, if I had any closets in this little farmhouse, I would try that! Maybe I'll have to doctor it up with some petunias like Becky said and stick it out on the porch...

Sloan said...

You must have a greenthumb! Very good story Debi.

Marion said...

I am very good at killing poinsettias. One year, I did the 'put it in a dark place but keep it watered a bit' until I realized: I didn't WANT that sucker to live!

Our church gets folks to buy a bright red poinsettia at Christmas, and we line them up in a double row around the pulpit and in the stained glass windows. Beautiful! ...but then we each have to take one home, and once the holidays are over, I find a way to kill the plant through total neglect. Finally it dawned on me: I didn't HAVE to buy one. The church doesn't profit from that purchase, except for that one week of glorious color. And enough traditionalists exist in our church that my non-purchase goes unremarked!
And Hubby has learned not to buy me a poinsettia. Ever.

Giulia said...

Plant the damn thing in the garden, water it, enjoy it through the summer and when winter comes let it die a natural death! Gees, and I thought I was bad. Your worse than I am. This is the second season I've tried to get my Mandavilla to re-bloom. First year I didn't cut it back. Brought it into the sunroom and let it sprawl. Put it out last summer - it did nothing. Last winter I cut it back to a couple of sticks. It's now outside doing NOTHING. These things aren't meant to last. They're cultivated for a specific time period. Give it up!

(Some day we've definitely gotta meet. You're a soul mate if ever I found one. We could spend HOURS in the wild together examining life.)

Thanks for your comments on mine. Don't stop!