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'Tis the Season for Poinsettias

This weekend is the last days for one of St. Louis' largest poinsettias' festivals, which is held in Wildwood at Fahr Greenhouses.

Ninety percent of the holiday season's worth of poinsettia plants grown at in Wildwood will ship within the next 10 to 12 days, said Pat Bellrose, one of the facility's owners, last weekend at the first two days of their staff's annual poinsettia festival.

Hours for the festival, which is located at 18944 Saint Albans Rd., are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. (See previously published article: ) 

Various vendors offer unique and customized gifts. One of the more unusual gifts offered at the festival are purses made from sentimental ties. Donna LaPorte, a crafter from Sullivan, MO, said she is totally into recycling products for new uses. "I often got 'this was my grandpa's tie, can you do something interesting with it?' question, so now I make them into purses to keep the memories going," she said.

LaPorte also sells pins made from former VHS tapes and jewelry made from Dominoes or Scrabble tiles.

"Yes, I'm an original," LaPorte said. "I think it's critical for us all to teach our children to recycle."

In addition to purchasing poinsettias, there are crafts, a Christmas store, children's activities, free refreshments and attendance prizes. Customers also are encouraged to bring their cameras for the visit so they can get a holiday photo taken among a sea of these flowering gems. The Fahr Greenhouse staff said pets, too, are welcome for photos. Children can get their photo taken with Santa Claus.

Fresh greenery for mailboxes, doors and bannisters also is available.

Bellrose said commercial orders for poinsettias must be transported in their heated trucks so the temperature doesn't drop below 50 degrees.

He said the natural gas heating bill for their greenhouses in 2004 was approximately $60,000, however now they are using biofuel, which incorporates corn or wood chips. "Everybody's searching for an answer," said Bellrose. "Our country was developed on cheap energy and we have figured out the technology to produce better energy sources, but not the distribution system to get it to people cheaply."

Bellrose said they use solar buildup during the day as a heat source and double poly-bag methods at night to hold in the warmth.

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