Thanks so much for hosting me today on the Paranormal Romantics. I had a great time writing Deadly Undertaking with a ghost-like character, a shadow man, Henry.
In my pre-writing life, I was in the flower business for twenty years. We were busy elves helping Santa out at this time of year with providing decorations, floral arrangements, and blooming plants for gift-giving and parties. The poinsettia is the plant every one associates with Christmas time, so if you give or receive one, I am passing along some pointers on caring for this seasonal favorite. Happy Holidays!
12 Pointers on Poinsettia Care by J.Q. Rose
‘Tis the season of the year when the transformation occurs. Winter’s grim grip on the land is broken by the bright lights and decorations of the holidays. The poinsettia plant, introduced to the US by Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US Ambassador to Mexico, remains the all-time favorite of decorators.
Purchasing a poinsettia
· Do you know the beautiful shades of red, pink, and white are not the poinsettia flower? The flowers are located in the center of the colored leaves or bracts. When purchasing, look for buds. The freshest plants have the buds and will last longer than plants with flowers opening or already opened or missing.
· Check the rest of the plant to be sure leaves are a rich green, not yellowed, wilted, or curled.
Wrap it up
· In cold areas, your newly purchased plant should be wrapped or sleeved before taking it outside to your car or truck. Poinsettias hate cold drafts.
· Don’t leave the plant in the vehicle for a long time in the cold weather even if it’s wrapped.
Watering and Fertilizing
· When you get home with the plant, immediately unwrap it.
· Dig your fingers into the soil to see how wet it is. Go about an inch deep. Poke a hole through the foil wrap or remove the foil before watering to allow the water to drain.
· Always set the poinsettia in a tray to catch the water that drains through. After an hour or two, empty the tray of remaining water. Just like you and me, the roots of the poinsettia don’t like their feet wet all the time.
· Don’t fertilize while the plant is blooming. To keep the leaves green after blooming, fertilize once a month with a liquid fertilizer.
· With any plant you have in your house, always feel the soil to determine how wet or dry it is before watering.
The Best Location in your house
· Poinsettias do well in bright light, but not hot sun. Find a brightly lighted area in your home.
· Don’t put the plant in a cold window or near a heat vent.
· Poinsettias have been wrongfully accused of poisoning pets and children. The Pet Poison Helpline states, “While poinsettias are commonly “hyped” as poisonous plants, they rarely are, and the poisoning is greatly exaggerated.” Pet Med adds “If the leaves are ingested, they will often cause nausea and vomiting, but it would take a large amount of the plant’s material to cause poisoning, and most animals and children will not eat such a large enough amount because of the irritating taste and feel from the sap.” You can be assured the poinsettia can safely claim its place adding a pop of color and beauty to your home or workplace during the holidays.
If you have any questions about caring for your poinsettia plant, please ask in the comments section below. I’d be happy to answer. Do you usually have a poinsettia plant in your home during the holidays? What’s your favorite color? I’m traditional because I prefer red. Do you have other holiday plants like the Christmas cactus, amaryllis, and cyclamen?
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J.Q. Rose has been working with flowers most of her life. She began by helping in the family’s funeral business setting up flowers for visitation and funeral services. Later she and her husband owned and operated a floral shop, greenhouses, and garden center where she designed floral arrangements which included funeral flowers.
In her romantic suspense, Deadly Undertaking, her main character, Lauren, is the daughter of a funeral director performing many of the jobs J.Q. knows so well such as dusting caskets.
Lauren Staab of the Staab and Blood Funeral Home returns home to help out with the family business and take care of her mother stricken with Alzheimer ’s disease. She hadn’t planned on meeting a handsome detective, being exasperated with a shadow man, and discovering a murder victim in the garage between the flower car and the funeral coach. Welcome home, Lauren!
EXCERPT: Deadly Undertaking by J.Q. Rose, from Chapter 12—Meet Henry, the shadow man
Lauren entered her office and shut the door behind her. She was infuriated with her brother and with Emmett. She stomped to her desk and tossed the cigarette lighter in the drawer. The heat of her anger still flamed inside her. She shook her head in disgust.
“Lauren, you really should give up smoking those cigarettes. They can kill you.” Her eyes darted to the wall. Henry’s shadow hovered next to the closed door. He never showed up at the right time. Of course when was the right time to see a ghost?
Stifling the three little sneezes that always signaled Henry’s presence, she said, “Dear, dear Henry. You aren’t exactly a healthy specimen yourself, a flat black shadow on a wall. Are you telling me cigarettes killed you?” She smirked at the shadow.
“No, not cigarettes.”
“I think you know this isn’t the right time to be discussing my health. That was you knocking the stuff off the shelves and flashing the lights on and off, wasn’t it?” She practically stared a hole through the shadow.
“Why, what do you mean, dear?” It’s a good thing Henry didn’t have a face to slap because she would have if she could have.
“You know what I mean.” She sighed. “I guess I should be grateful instead of mad at you. At least your shenanigans scared off Emmett.
“You’re welcome.” Henry bowed deeply. “Glad to be of help.”
“Well, I’ve got work to do, Henry.” Tapping her computer to wake it from its hibernation, she said, “By the way, what did kill you?” Funny how she’d never even thought about how Henry died.
“Some bad guys didn’t like me too much.” He twirled his umbrella and tucked it under his arm.
Now that statement spiked Lauren’s curiosity. “Do you mean somebody murdered you?” Her eyes grew wide with the realization. “Why? Were you a bad guy or a good guy?”
She heard Henry’s deep chuckle. “Now how am I supposed to answer that? Of course, I think I’m the good guy.” He gave the “thumbs up” gesture to emphasize he was truly was.
Lauren leaned forward in her chair. She waited. “Well aren’t you going to tell me what happened?”
A knock at the office door interrupted the conversation.
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Deadly Undertaking is available at Amazon. Click here to read a sample or download the e-book.
J Q Rose is an avid reader, photographer, and blogger with blogs about writing and growing a vegetable garden. Janet and her husband are snow birds who spend winters in Florida allowing them to garden twelve months out of the year. Summer finds her up north camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her grandchildren.