Garden Club: On Hiatus For December

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  • Patty McHugh

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” Claude Monet


Topic: IKEBANA, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, presented by Ron Brown. Ikebana creates linear flower arrangements according to certain rules which aim to achieve harmony, beauty and balance. It is described as sculpture with flowers. It is a creative art that allows us to bring all the charm and beauty of nature into our homes.

Speaker: Ron Brown brings innovative enthusiasm to ikebana audiences and his students. Ron has been actively pursuing his passion for ikebana as a second career since his retirement from his career as a vintner. He is in high demand as a demonstrator and floral designer. He teaches ikebana classes in Sonoma and Marin, demonstrates and exhibits often for many groups throughout California, and beyond. This year Ron went to Japan for the Ikebana International 11th world convention.


Poinsettias at Christmas

From time to time our column will feature information on a particular plant – it may include myths as well as facts. We hope you will find this interesting and informative. In keeping with the holiday season, this month’s featured plant is Poinsettias.

Poinsettias, named after the US Ambassador Joel Roberts Poinsett, who brought the plants from Mexico to South Carolina, are known as the Christmas Star and the Christmas Flower. Poinsettias are native to Central America. Their botanical name is ‘Euphorbia pulcherrima’ which means ‘the most beautiful Euphorbia’.

The shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes thought as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. The red colored leaves symbolize the blood of Christ. The white leaves represent his purity.

It’s said that poinsettias’ association with Christmas comes from an old Mexican legend – the story goes like this:

There was once a poor Mexican girl named Pepita who had no present to give the baby Jesus at the Christmas Eve services. As Pepita sadly walked to the chapel her cousin Pedro tried to cheer her up. “Pepita” he said, “I’m sure that even the smallest gift, given by someone who loves him, will make Jesus happy.” Pepita didn’t know what she could give, so she picked a small handful of weeds from the roadside and made them into a small bouquet. She felt embarrassed because she could only give this meager present to Jesus. As she walked through the chapel to the altar, she remembered what Pedro said. She began to feel better, knelt and placed the bouquet at the bottom of the nativity scene. Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into bright red flowers, and everyone who saw them were sure they had seen a miracle. From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the ‘Flores de Noche Buena’ or ‘Flower of the Holy Night’.

May your holidays be bright with love and warm with peace and joy.


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