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Garden Q&A: Could I use poinsettias in flower structures?

My planet is full of food at this time, specifically cranberries. They are in every recipe, restaurant and commercial menu. So, aside from being a delivery method to get much more sugar and their vivid seasonal color that offers contrast to gravy on the plate, are there some real benefits to eating cranberries?

You are not alone. Every year, farmers create 400 million tons of cranberries, of which 20 percent is consumed during Thanksgiving week. That means all of us have visions of cranberries these days.

But, a short history lesson. Native Americans of the Northeast have been attentive to the health benefits of cranberries long before the Europeans arrived. Early European settlers were already familiar with the wild “craneberry” whose flower resembles the head of a sandbill crane. They attracted a culinary heritage of utilizing tangy fruit sauces for meats to conceal either the gamey flavor or hide the less-than-fresh flavor. In time, they started using the cranberries, not only for flavor, but for health issues also, such as appetite loss, stomach issues and blood disorders. Cranberries are high in vitamin C and have been embraced to treat scurvy, too.

The cranberry is a native American fruit growing in the swamps and bogs of neighboring North America. It’s located in the east coast of the United States all the way to Minnesota, and from the Canada Maritimes south into the hills of Georgia. It’s a low-growing, monitoring, and woody perennial vine that forms thick mats over the top layer of the bed. Short upright branches form buds along the runners where the flowers bud and the fruit develops.

The vivid red pop of colour in the dinner plate comes in the cranberry’s abundance of a substance called proanthocyanidins, an antioxidant which neutralizes free radicals within the body believed to lead to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and other problems.

Today, both the Mayo Clinic and the National Kidney Foundation report that cranberry juice (as much as two cups per day) may promote normal kidney function, reduce the prospect of clogged blood vessels, and may retard the growth of kidney infections and kidney stones.

With cranberry production being the next most important export in the country of Massachusetts, it is no surprise that the University of Massachusetts has been find out more about the veggies potential health benefits. UM Dartmouth reports cranberries might also be advantageous for promoting oral health, anti-aging, and defense against some cancers.

If you already have kidney stones or a urinary tract disease, consult your doctor before self-medicating with cranberries, cranberry juice or tablets. It’s possible they may exacerbate your illness.

I’ve attempted using poinsettia blossoms as cut flowers in structures, but see that they gallop rapidly. Aren’t meant to be trimmed or am I doing anything wrong?

That is a particularly timely question using Dec. 12 just round the corner. That is National Poinsettia Day, commemorating the passing of Joel Roberts Poinsett, the botanist who introduced the plant into the U.S. from southern Mexico in 1828. That is an excuse to fill out the home with flowers if ever there was one.

There’s no reason you can’t bring your blossoms indoors. It simply takes a little technique and you will discover you are able to keep them for a couple of weeks.

You need to cut your flowers at night (which your neighbors might discover somewhat creepy) or first thing in the afternoon if their stems are full of water. Since the day warms up, flowers gradually dehydrate. Ensure your sanity more than you want them to be and deliver them in as fast as possible. Your purpose is to keep air from going to the xylem, the tissue that conducts water up from the roots. When those cells are obstructed, the trim stem won’t have the ability to consume water while at the arrangement and will wilt.

You are probably already aware that the poinsettia excretes a milky sap if the stems or leaves are broken. Individuals with allergies may have a skin response, but for many people it is just a harmless sticky irritation.

When you bring the cut stems from, remove any leaves that will wind up beneath the water. Hold the stem so that the latex doesn’t have the time to wash, and create a fresh cut on an angle. Put the cut stem from cool water. After about 30 minutes, replace the cloudy water with new water.

The University of Minnesota urges incorporating a commercial floral preservative to the water to prolong the blossoms lifestyle. Preservatives are complicated concoctions of sugars, acidifiers and respiration inhibitor. Forget about putting an aspirin, wine or pennies from the vase. Research show they just don’t get the job done.

Check the arrangement’s water level every day. Every two or three days, make a fresh cut whilst holding the stem underwater just because you did originally. Poinsettias are fickle and don’t like conditions that are too hot like a place close to the fireplace, or overly cold just like a place in a draft.

Incidentally, contrary to rumors, no other part of the poinsettia is noxious. Research has proven that, normally, a individual would need to consume 500-700 poinsettia leaves before using a significant problem. Since the leaves are not yummy, most kids and creatures would stop after just one without being scolded.

Yes, it is a bit of a hassle, but so worth the effort if you take a look at your lovely floral masterpiece, and think, “What’s Martha got that I don’t have?”

Paula Weatherby is a master gardener with the Duval County Extension Service and the University of Florida/IFAS. If you have gardening questions, then you can talk to a professional gardener from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Duval extension office at -LRB-904-RRB- 255-7450.