It happens only one day a year at Millstadt Gardens.
On Nov. 22, N.G. Heimos Greenhouses and the Heimos family will throw open its vast wholesale greenhouses at 6667 Illinois 158 south of Millstadt so visitors can take a free tour and see some of the more than 1 million poinsettias grown there.
Hours for the Poinsettia Wonderland Open House are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with tours from 10 to 3. Visitors also can enjoy the free entertainment, refreshments and craft vendors, and buy a variety of poinsettias, rosemary trees and other greenery for holiday decorating and gifts. Santa will be in residence, too. Bring your camera and find the perfect spot to take a family portrait among the holiday plants or at the Santa Station.
“This is an annual event and we really enjoy doing it,” said Micky Byland, sales manager at Millstadt Gardens. “We see so many families who are making this part of a holiday tradition.” Norwin Heimos started the business in St. Louis 65 years ago and it continues to be family run.
“We’re open just this one day to the public,” Micky said. “Our growing staff will lead the walking tours and visitors can learn about drip irrigation, the heating in the floors, how the shade cloth works and ventilation.”
Try to pay attention because it’s easy to be distracted by the row upon row of poinsettias. Colors include burgundy, peppermint, apricot, green, red (No. 1) and white (No. 2).
Volunteers from the Millstadt Optimists will lend a hand, with a percentage of sales that day benefitting its Youth Club.
The Millstadt Gardens retail store attached to the greenhouses will reopen Nov. 22 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day only) through Christmas, selling poinsettias, roping, wreaths and other holiday greenery. Regular hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and until 4 p.m. Sundays. Phone is 618-476-9600.