arb1 The Poinsettia Tree at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Photo by Amy Rea

Among the many festive displays on exhibit for the holidays is the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Making Spirits Bright. It’s a vast combination of greenery, lights, and other decorations, and at its center is a fairly new tradition: The poinsettia tree.

arb2 The Poinsettia Tree at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Photo by Amy Rea

This is no minor undertaking. Over the course of several days, a platform for the poinsettia plants must be set up.

arb3 The Poinsettia Tree at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Photo by Amy Rea

Starting with just some metal frames, slowly a tree-shaped platform rises.

arb5 The Poinsettia Tree at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Photo by Amy Rea

Finally, a tree! All those wire-like things hanging from each level are not lights–they’re watering spouts. The poinsettias on the tree are all real, and thus need to be watered frequently.

arb6 The Poinsettia Tree at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Photo courtesy of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

And watering would be no small task. Wagner’s Garden Centers donated 525 poinsettia plants for this year’s display.

arb7 The Poinsettia Tree at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Photo courtesy of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

It took five gardeners two days to carefully install each plant and hook it up to its watering device.

arb8 The Poinsettia Tree at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Photo courtesy of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

The plants at the top of the tree receive more water than those lower down, as heat rising tends to dry out the top plants more quickly. The overflow water lands in a tray at the base of the tree, which is then hosed out.

arb9 The Poinsettia Tree at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Photo courtesy of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

But after several days’ work, the 25-foot-tall tree is complete. At its top is a Craig Mitchell Smith sculpture. The tree, along with many other holiday displays, will be available for viewing through January 1 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. (or until 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) daily. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings from 5-8 p.m., visitors can also stroll the Arboretum grounds, which will be lit up in a gorgeous holiday tableau.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Tuesday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.

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