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posted: 11/18/2012 6:13 AM

Cantigny Park's annual poinsettia show helps welcome the season

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  • Visitors can view nearly 3,000 poinsettias and other plants Nov. 27 when Cantigny Park opens its greenhouses for the annual Shades of Crimson display.

      Visitors can view nearly 3,000 poinsettias and other plants Nov. 27 when Cantigny Park opens its greenhouses for the annual Shades of Crimson display.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • Cantigny's greenhouses feature 14 varieties of poinsettias.

      Cantigny's greenhouses feature 14 varieties of poinsettias.
    AP file photo

 
By Jeff Reiter
Cantigny Park

Flower lovers can get a close look at thousands of poinsettias Tuesday, Nov. 27, when Cantigny Park's horticultural department plays host to its annual Shades of Crimson display.

Visitors will see 14 varieties of poinsettias in full bloom and about 3,000 plants in all, organizers said. Horticulture staff members will be on hand to discuss the plants and answer questions.

The free display will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the park's greenhouse, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton.

"This is a wonderful annual event that seems to jump-start the holiday season," said Joy Kaminsky, Cantigny Park director of horticulture. "It's quite a spectacle to see so many poinsettias in one place, at their peak, before they leave the greenhouse."

Cantigny's plants are purchased as 3-inch-long cuttings and then nurtured and groomed by the park's horticulture team for more than six months. Water, fertilizer, light and temperature are each regulated to achieve the spectacular results visitors will see at the greenhouse.

A new page with information about poinsettias, including how to care for them and history about the plant, is posted on the Cantigny Park website.

Nearly half the poinsettias are destined for the Rotary Club of Central DuPage, which uses them for fundraising. Another 400 plants are for holiday decorating in the museums, restaurants and other buildings throughout the 500-acre Cantigny estate.

Poinsettias will be offered for sale at Shades of Crimson. Prices are $5.50 for a small plant, $15.25 for medium and $34.95 for large.

After the event, sales to the public will continue at the Cantigny Shoppe in the Visitors Center and the Cantigny Golf Shop. Any unsold plants are donated to area nursing homes and care centers.

Shades of Crimson will include self-guided tours of the greenhouse and light refreshments. Garden clubs and senior groups are welcome. There is no fee to attend, but advance registration is requested for groups of 10 or more. Forms may be downloaded at Cantigny.org or guests may call (630) 260-8162.

Free parking will be at the greenhouse, so visitors should enter Cantigny from the east at Shaffner Road.

Cantigny Park is open daily from 9 a.m. until sunset in November and December. For more details, visit Cantigny.org.

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