URI Master Gardeners prepare for annual poinsettia and wreath sale

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KINGSTON, R.I. – November 8, 2010 — The URI Master Gardeners are making final preparations for their annual Poinsettia and Wreath Sale, which will take place on Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to noon at the URI East Farm greenhouses on Route 108 in Kingston.

A total of 1,300 poinsettia plants will be on sale for $12 each for large plants and $10 for tabletop sizes. Sixty-seven varieties of this popular holiday plant will be available with a wide variety of pinks, reds, and whites in many different tones. The sale will also feature holiday wreaths for $35 each.

Money raised in this sale will be used to support the statewide educational projects of the URI Master Gardener Association.

The poinsettia project, under the leadership of Master Gardener Francine McVay, is a research project, one of thirty such national trial sites in the United States and the only one that is carried out by Master Gardeners. The project begins in July when plugs are received from four growers and grown in the East Farm greenhouses. Teams of Master Gardeners oversee the growing and data collection of the poinsettias. More than 90 Master Gardeners are involved.

Daily records are kept on height and width, color and shape of the leaves (dark green, light green, variegated, for example, and teardrop, jagged edge, heart shape, etc.) and the colors of the bracts. The breeders are trying to produce a more energy-efficient poinsettia that can be grown in cooler greenhouses. Data collection was done this year on their growth habits while being raised in greenhouses with cooler nighttime temperatures.

Everyone is invited to come to the URI Master Gardener Poinsettia and Wreath Sale between the hours of 9 am and noon on December 4th at the East Farm greenhouses on Route 108 in Kingston. This is a wonderful opportunity to get your holiday decorations.