Bring Nature Inside for the Holidays

Jacqueline Soule here to share some holiday memories. Growing up with parents who were part of the Beat Generation, our family celebrated the holidays in an extravagant festival that ran from Thanksgiving to Epiphany and embraced many different cultural traditions. (I confess that the Bab and Judah the Maccabee were a tad confused in my young mind for a while, but later straightened out.) We played dreidel, ate tamales, tangerines, and latkes, lit a Solstice bonfire and a Hanukkah menorah, and brought lots of evergreens indoors.

Aleppo pines do well in low and middle desert landscapes.

After three years of a living Aleppo pine in pots (one for each child) my parents had to turn to other evergreens, and here is where living in the Southwest made their task easy. There are so many plants that are evergreen in our climate!

The year after the first Charlie Brown Christmas special aired, we had a “Charlie Brown Tree.” The tree was a palo verde, which is also the official Arizona State tree. It was planted in the front yard with much family ceremony on Epiphany day, and us kids placed a time capsule in a mayonnaise jar under its roots. It’s still there for all I know.  The tree grew quite large and stately indeed, casting a nice patch of shade.

Another year we had a citrus tree. Luckily for us, virtually all citrus live in pots very well — because that tree lived in that pot over the summer and was used again the following year! (Then we did plant it in the yard.)

For more ideas of living holiday evergreens for the Southwest, I invite you to our online course, “Living Holiday Evergreens.” More than 25 other evergreens are covered – too many to go into detail about here. I will say that there are selections for all the different growing regions of the Southwest.

Happy Holiday Season to All!

For more on living holiday evergreens see “Month-by-Month Guide to Gardening in Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada” (Cool Springs Press, $26). I sell and sign that and my other books after each of my free public lectures. Check our events page for locations and times.

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