December 9, 2018
Well, we are about half-way through our 2018 poinsettia sales season. This is the point where we finally stop trying to convince people of the fact that poinsettias are not poisonous to them, their children, their cats, their dogs, their parents, their grandparents, or any other living beings. The good news is, while 10 years ago an internet search of, "Are poinsettias poisonous?" would have yielded a couple dozen lists of poisonous plants and a handful of articles telling the truth, today, you will find few that do not very openly try to dispel the rumor of the poinsettia's toxicity.
In the early 1900's, the young son of a an Army officer in Hawaii was found dead next to a poinsettia plant, and that plant became the scapegoat for the tragedy. No other death-by-poinsettia has ever been documented, but the plant has never been able to overcome the hysteria from that one obscure moment in history.
According to the American Medical Association's Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants, the only side-effect of ingesting a poinsettia plant is, "occasional vomiting." And even the ASPCA states that it is not deadly to animals. This is the main reason we have been absolutely aghast with many local, albeit well-meaning veterinarians who continue to disregard science and choose instead to perpetuate this myth.
So, if you are worried about the toxicity of poinsettias to you, your children or your pets, feel free to research it yourself and use the facts. If you still believe they are deadly, please don't share it with our cat Max...he has been living among them for 13 years!
We are coming off a great State Fair and ready to sell mum, asters, and some class winning pumpkins and squash. As you can see from our front page, this year's Iowa State Fair was more than sheep for us. Our FFA son, Eli, has also become involved in a very active group of Mid-Prairie FFA members who garden and exhibit their produce and flowers at the Fair.
In addition to winning High Chapter honors in Floriculture and Horticulture for a number of years, the Mid-Prairie FFA Chapter has given Eli some really high quality role-models. While I won't name all the participants, there are a couple who bear mention. Dylan Schrock, who now "does plants professionally" for the University of Iowa, has had numerous championships over the past 5-6 years and has really worked to help the younger members. The other is Emily Meader. Emily started working here in high school and was one of the best we've ever had. She has now set a standard for other hort enthusiasts at MP by completing a degree from Kirkwood and continuing on at Iowa State. We have no doubt she will be a player in our industry very soon.
That brings us to Eli. If you pick up a pumpkin or an acorn squash with your mums, you can honestly say they were from State Fair prize-winning vines, as Eli proudly won those two classes. In addition, he had two of the top three pie-pumpkins and a couple of other place-winning Sweet Dumpling Squashes.
Rumor has it that others here at Reha Greenhouses have been motivated by Dylan, Emily, and Eli as well. If you go to the open horticulture show at the State Fair next year, you may just find some entries under the names of Marianne Reha-Van Roekel and Dave Reha. Until then, get that fall decor going!
Whoops, it has been a long time since we added any updates here. We realized yesterday that almost all of our spring planting was completed, and maybe it was time we said something. Then today we woke up to what is hopefully our last snowstorm of the winter. Right now, I am writing compliments of our backup generator, so it is a little difficult to come up with too much to say, other than, "Hang with us, friends; it really is on the way!"