Hanging Evergreens are an ancient tradition?
Nothing screams the holidays more than the fresh scent of cedar and pine. The fragrance of evergreens have always played a large role in the spirit of Christmas. Along with mistletoe and holly, evergreens have been a symbolic role in the holiday season throughout the centuries.
Dating back to primitive European tribes, evergreens were hung over their doorways to welcome winter spirits in the hopes of receiving good health and fortune. Evergreens were a sign of good luck and brought hope of a prosperous spring. To many ancient people, holiday evergreens symbolized everlasting life because they stayed green and alive when other plants appeared brown and dead. Romans would decorate their homes with evergreens to celebrate the Festival of Saturnalia, the god of agriculture.
Decking the halls with boughs of holly was another special tradition because hollys shiny leaves and red berries were considered magical during the middle of winter and ensured good dreams when hung over the bed. Mistletoe was a symbol of love and forgiveness to the Drudis and Scandinavians and thought to have powers of fertility.
Decorating your home with your favorite evergreens has been a long lasting tradition. From celebrating the the winter solstice to filling the air with Christmas spirit, evergreens will bring joy to the holidays and remind us all that spring will soon come again.
Globe Blue Spruce
Dwarf Globe Blue Spruce, Picea pungens Globosa
3-5 ft tall and 5-6 ft wide
Full to Part Sun
Bright blue needles in spring that fade to deeper blue
The Dwarf Globe Blue Spruce is native to the western United States. In the wild it grows best in dry, well drained soil and in higher elevations. The bright blue needles have helped make this one of the most popular evergreens in ou area. With a hardiness zone going all the way to 2 you don't have to worry about this shrub struggling in our long winters.
Uses: This small shrub is often used as an accent in rock gardens or to provide winter interest in a foundation planting. Often these shrubs are grafted to a standard, giving them a 'lollipop tree' appearance and used as a small accent tree near front entrances or along paths.
Fun Fact: They are super slow growers so they only grow maybe 1-6” per year! Hint hint, this is what classifies this conifer as ‘dwarf’.
Hardiness zones: 2-8
Buying a real Christmas tree is better than purchasing a fake one?
Christmas trees support wildlife, provide oxygen for mother earth, grow in soils that don't support other crops, benefit soil stabilization and water erosion. Artificial trees are petroleum-based and created in factories that emit carbon monoxide.
For every Christmas tree cut and sold, three new seedlings take its place. Artificial trees last an average of 3-5 years and are disposed in a landfill and take centuries to dispose while real Christmas trees are biodegradable.
Christmas trees can be recycled in a variety of way from mulch, fish habitats to elephant food.
To find out more fun facts, benefits of buying a real Christmas tree and where to recycle your tree click the link below!
Euphorbia pulcherrima, Poinsettia
Over 100 types ranging from 1 to 15 feet tall and wide
Red, pink, and white 'blooms' are the most common
Poinsettias are native to mexico and in the wild can grow up to 15' tall. The Aztecs used the red bracts to make dye and the sap to help control fevers. But we all know the Poinsettia as a Holiday plant. This came about as a Mexican legend about a little girl on Christmas giving one to Jesus.
What we commonly refer to as petals on the Poinsettia plant are actually modified leaves called bracts. Normally they are simply green however if they have 12 hours of darkness every day for about a month this triggers the plant to bloom and the bracts turn those bright, vibrant colors.
Poinsettias can stay beautiful in your home for months with the right care. They cannot tolerate freezing, however they do want to be between 55-65 degrees typically. They also like the soil to be a bit drier so be sure to punch holes in the foil that typically wraps a poinsettia to allow excess water to drain out.
Fun Fact: Poinsettias are not poisonous. This is an extremely common misconception surrounding this plant but many studies have been done to prove it. It is estimated a person would have to consume hundreds of poinsettia leaves or bracts before any symptoms would show and even then it is mostly indigestion.
Snug as a bug in a rug. This is the time of year for burlapping trees but why? and when?
Burlapping should be done to newly planted evergreens, arborvitaes, and anything susceptible to winter burn. The reason for this is that it will help keep it from burning in the winter
Winter burn occurs when a plant heats up a bit on warmer, sunnier days and the needles begin to wake up. This causes them to start working and loose water. But the trunk is frozen and so is the ground so there is no water to replace the water lost. Wrapping in burlap will help prevent the sudden changes in temp by acting as a little micro-environment where the temperature will stay more even and the needles wont be warmed by direct sunlight.
Another good way to prevent winter burn is to keep your evergreens well watered into the fall. Make sure those needles don't start the long winter months already thirsty!
The best time to burlap is after a few frosts. It needs to be cold and stay cold before you should burlap. Doing it too early can cause your shrubs to overheat under the burlap, causing them to loose lots of moisture and ruining the whole plan! For this same reason burlap should come off right away in the spring while it is still nice and cold so the evergreens can wake up naturally with the rest of the trees.
Looking for burlapping services in the Minneapolis area? Push the link to request a quote from 3 Bears!