Not what it appears to be

Poinsettias have long been a favored seasonal gift here in Austin. They go to colleagues, customers, friends, relatives, and anybody else who might be on a list to be given a token of esteem or affection. Some years, a lucky person might receive a dozen or more of these environment-brighteners. More often than not, they came from Marbridge Farms; more often than not, given proper conditions including the total darkness required at certain times, they could be coaxed into growing and producing colorful red bracts for at least one more year. Marbrdge closed down its retail nursery. This morning, I noticed that a flor de noche buena was drooping badly. When I looked more closely, I realized for the first time that it’s not a plant at all, just a sprig poked into a block of florists’ foam. And that’s what all the others are, too. Maybe they can be rooted; maybe not. I’m glad that Marbridge continues to exist in whatever form is best for this local institution, but I’m sorry all over again about the nursery.

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