Wintergreen – Beyond Christmas Trees!

Maybe it’s me being un-provincial, moving every so often as an Air Force brat, but I want to see something distinctive about each new place I go or live, not how those good at copying weak ideas consider it.

For those in colder zones than USDA Zone 7, did you know there are evergreen plants with broad leaves, not just conifers? Zone 7 is where one really begins to see this shift to southerly plants of mesothermal winter climates…those with a mean monthly average temperature above freezing / 32F. But some in Z 6 and even parts of Z 5 have some broadleaf evergreens too, and I hope this post inspires you to seek those out.

That freezing temperature determines things like above-ground life, such as photosynthesis, and below-ground life, such as rooting when the soil isn’t frozen. Mesothermal does depend on how much moisture and cloud cover one gets, as well as other extremes and the plants used.

But those are side notes. From a business trip, then back home.

Albuquerque: 35F in December is the coldest month average. Photos taken 12/12/2013 –

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Southern Live Oak / Quercus virginiana adds life during a rare, bleak winter day in Albuquerque…that white is snow

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…Heavenly Bamboo / Nandina domestica bright that same day…but quit shearing them like the ones in back…
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…Evergreen Silverberry / Eleagnus pungens used to be planted much more…
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…too bad it needs more space, though it can be kept compact for over a decade like here…
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…greens tinted with silver and some yellow all winter…

El Paso: 43F in December is the coldest month average. Photos taken 12/17/2013 and 1/3/2014 –

…more attractive with more space and less shearing…
and that stately, sturdy Escarpment Live Oak / Quercus fusiformis on the way home…
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Of course, yuccas and sotols don’t easily perform this task everywhere…
…all day, skyline accents grab light overhead in warmer climes
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…but Christmas trees and conifers, in the right context, are still fine for winter green, too :-)
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