18-foot-tall Emily Bruner holly serves as the
focal point of the formal garden at the Coastal
Georgia Botanical Gardens in Savannah, Ga.
is a special time for making memories. Most memories donít
come from gifts, although those slippers that look like
giant stuffed roosters from the farm certainly make a
trees on the other hand have a way of making a lasting
memory just like the special ornaments that adorn them.
Other than using a camera, one way to capture and make
that Christmas memory last is with a living Christmas
living Christmas trees are mentioned your first thought
may be that I am referring to chopping one down or
perhaps decorating one indoors and then planting it
outside. In recent years however the living Christmas
tree idea has shifted to out in the landscape. There is
certainly good reasoning here as your evergreen of
choice can be for specimen type plantings that will
serve as an accent or perhaps the focal point of a
particular garden. Informally clustered they can help
give you good bones and structure in the garden.
the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens we make use of
living Christmas trees during the December Nights and
Holiday Lights festivities. With lights now numbering
close to 750,000 we are always looking to incorporate
dramatic new designs. While we are oh so envious of
northern regions where firs and spruce are native and
used with ease, we make up for it with picturesque
hollies. Many hollies have that perfect Christmas tree
form, and when adorned with bright red berries are ready
for a picture postcard.
the entrance we have staggered varying heights of
hollies to mimic a grove of Christmas trees you might
find in the forest. They are lit with solar powered
white lights that give the idea of twinkling ice
crystals. If you think about it, hollies with their
conical shape really do make great Christmas trees. Many
families find the first photo-op of their visit to be
the 18-foot tall Emily Bruner holly which is the focal
point in the Formal Garden. It is majestic in the
daytime but at night, lighted with giant snowflakes and
berry red lights it is festive beyond imagination. Oh
and did I say this holly is surrounded by over 10,000
icy white lights?
as visitors walk the trail through the Rainbow tunnel
and down the Crape Myrtle Allee guarded by nutcracker
soldiers, they come upon five Oak Leaf hollies with that
idyllic Christmas tree form providing a dazzling light
display in the Rose Garden. Hollies, like Festive,
Little Red, Cardinal, Robin, Mary Nell and Nellie R.
Stevens and even Fosters all have that classic shape
that with minimal maintenance will provide a lifetime of
Christmas tree enjoyment. They may prove to be a little
prickly when placing ornaments, but the look is truly
outstanding. Shiny, metallic garland and lights look
great on hollies as the leaves provide an extra
you want a living Christmas tree but canít wrap your
mind around the idea of a holly then choose a conifer.
If you live in zones 7 and northward you have wonderful
options like Douglas fir, Frasier fir and of course one
of several spruces. In the hot humid south our conifers
of choice are the native Eastern red cedar, Deodar cedar
and the exquisite blue-gray Arizona cypress. We not only
use them in the landscape but also as temporary
plantings in containers for decorating and you can too.
a special celebration with your family in planting a
living Christmas tree in the landscape this season and
the memories are sure to come. Youíll remember how old
your children were when the tree was planted and you can
watch the tree grow as they grow. Doing this each year
gives you a living ledger or diary of memorable holidays
with the family.