Features

Christmas Flowers

THERE are many plants that are associated with the Christmas season in the Island Neighbours. Chief among these would be the poinsettia and the Christmas tree.

This week we will look at the origin of the poinsettia and how it can be used to enhance your decor this holiday season.

The poinsettia plant is indigenous to Mexico and Central America. Horticulturists estimate that there are over 100 species of Poinsettia growing in the wild and used as ornamental plants. Known in Mexico as the “Christmas Eve flower”, this flower was used by the Aztecs to create red dye. Additionally, the red of the petal is associated with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. On December 12, the United States observes National Poinsettia Day.

In the Island Neighbours, there are no special festivals to celebrate poinsettias but people use them in various ways during the Christmas season. Here are some practical uses:

1. Poinsettias can be used to create wreaths for your front door.
2. These blossoms can be used to create bouquets for your shelves or arrangements for your centrepieces.
3. Poinsettias have been known to light up your flower garden. It is therefore a good idea to light plant a few “dwarf” species this Christmas.
How do you plan to use the poinsettia this Christmas? Is it a big part of your holiday décor? Tell us on Facebook: Island Neighbours.

Neighbourly GetAways
Pursuing a hobby is sometimes a refreshing breakthrough from the strains of everyday life. How much better can a vacation get doing what you know and love? Licensed ham/amateur radio operators can shack up with ‘SalinesVacances’ in Le Francois Guadeloupe. The licensed ham radio operator earns access to a fully equipped station; an opportunity to meet fellow hobbyists and relax on a selection of over three beaches. If you enjoy hang gliding or micro-light flying, Air Cocotier – Guadeloupe’s seaplane departs Lagon de Saint Francois flying over Saint Francois and its environment. Wait a minute! Perhaps, flying does not entice you. Well … let’s see! What can we suggest? Hmmm ….Make something out of your hobby this week! If craft is your calling and the “nature isle” is on your list of places to visit ….then, it may be a good idea to visit Dominica’s General Post Office. Once there, tap into your sense of regional patriotism and purchase some of Dominica’s rarest stamps. With these, create homemade post cards and bookmarks, or even a fancy border for that favourite portrait. If you’re hungry for more adventure, pack your suitcases and head over to the “isle of flowers” – Martinique. In our quest to take you away from the daily stressors you meet, we urge to visit the Valley of the Butterflies which is located in Carbet Botanical Gardens. Bring along your camera and be sure to take along pictures for your photo album or your scrapbook. If you’re technologically savvy, create a blog with your photos and share it with your friends, family and fellow travellers.

Let’s Go Shopping
Calling all shopaholics! Every woman longs for a home which features unique, home-made décor inspired by West Indian culture. Coco Crafts, which is located in Bay Front and Kennedy Avenue (Dominica), is the ideal location to purchase these unique souvenirs for your home makeover. Purchase Creole dolls which exhibit the best in hand-stitching and fabric dyeing or locally made craft from bamboo and coconut husks. Add a Victorian-inspired painting to your collection to create a captivating aura of European panache and West Indian art. “Home is where the heart is,” they say. We agree with this sentiment, so take some time to artistically renovate your warm abode with the best in décor from Coco Crafts. Live a little!

History
Historical note! Did you know that certain species of poinsettia have white blooms? These are prevalent in the Island Neighbours. Get to know your neighbours!

A bit of the French for the Visitor
What’s on your Christmas Table?

garlic
l’ail

basil
lebasilic

cinnamon
La cannelle

Celery
Le céléri

clove
Le clou

coriander
La coriandre

taragon
l’estragon

fennel
Le fenouil

Bay leaf
Le feuille de laurier

Ginger
Le gingembre

Nutmeg
La muscade

Parsley
Le persil

pepper
lepoivre

Curry
Le curry

Rosemary
Le romarin

Salt
Le sel

thyme
lethym

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