What's in a name? More on poinsettias
Photo credit: Baltimore Sun/Susan Reimer
Orion, Orange Spice, Shimmer Surprise, Winter Rose, Silver Star Red, Freedom Red, Polly Pink, Prestige Maroon.
Freedom Salmon, Picasso, Arctic White, DaVinci Peppermint, Holly Point, Cinnamon Star, Pueblo, Bavarian Pinwheel, Strawberries and Cream.
Those are just some of the fun names for the varieties of poinsettias on display at the Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Garden in Druid Hill Park in Baltimore this holiday season.
But there is one variety Baltimoreans should remember: Jingle Bells. It is a variety discovered and cultivated in our fair city in the greenhouses of John Fantom.
It is one of the country's most beloved poinsettias, but it was an accident, a chimera, a mutation, a sport, as they say in horticulture.
It was 1971 and a red poinsettia was growing in one of Fantom's greenhouses. It inexplicably sprouted a leaf cluster, or bract, that was irregularly mottled in shades of raspberry and pink.
This look had appeared on poinsettias in other greenhouses, but Fantom was the only one who knew instinctively that it should be saved and propagated. The other growers just tossed their plants out.
Today, there are several varieties under the Jingle Bells moniker.
Check out the poinsettia show at the Rawlings Conservatory in Druid Hill Park through Jan. 2. Admission is free but a $2 donation is appreciated. The Conservatory is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
See if you can find the Jingle Bells!