Blog Post By Jona Elwell

Unsuspecting Evergreens

While conifers (pines, spruces, etc) are the dominant kind of evergreen, there’s more than meets the eye to these winter wonders.

The famous Southern Magnolia blossoms.

Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
The Southern Magnolia, an iconic gem of the south, is the granddaddy of magnolias with the largest specimens growing past 100 feet tall. You cannot mistake the leaves of the Southern Magnolia that bless us with their presence year round  – leathery with a shiny dark green on top, and a rich bronze hue and a fuzziness beneath. And don’t forget those flowers, which are 6-8 inches across and pure white. These flowers bloom prolifically in the early summer and can continue to appear in smaller numbers for the rest of the season. If you want to make it part of your landscape this tree demands that you give it some space to grow and it is well worth it. It is a tree that you can pass on to your grandchildren and theirs too. Add one to your yard and enjoy it for generations through our residential planting program, RiverSmart Homes (FREE for those in D.C.). You can also get up to $100 back for planting this tree yourself through our tree rebate program.

 

The exposed, bright red seeds of the Sweetbay Magnolia.

Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)
If you don’t want (or don’t have room for) a 100 foot tree, nature has you covered with a D.C. rowhouse friendly sweetbay magnolia. Its lemon scent blossoms appear in the late spring, so they are often not spoiled by early spring frosts. They grow to only 15-20 feet in height (a more manageable size for many properties in D.C.) and can easily be added to your yard with our residential planting program, RiverSmart Homes. You can also get up to $50 back for planting this tree yourself through our tree rebate program.

 

 

The famous holly berries.

American Holly (Ilex opaca)
There’s a reason these bright red berries have come to symbolize the holiday season – they’re around in the winter! This pyramid-shaped tree has its dark green leaves and red berries that are appreciated by birds. It adds a splash of green in our otherwise leafless winters and is prized in many gardens throughout the D.C. area. The fast growing “Nellie R. Stevens” holly is about half the size of the American holly – a great alternative for smaller yards – and is also common in our area. Add some winter cheer and the world’s easiest bird feeder by planting a holly through our residential planting program, RiverSmart Homes. You can also get up to $50 back for planting this tree yourself through our tree rebate program.

 

Sabal palmetto (commonly called cabbage palm) is a familiar symbol of South Carolina – in fact its nickname is The Palmetto State.

Palm Trees (Arecaceae)
A controversial choice, sure, but it is true that palm trees don’t shed their leaves in any particular season; their foliage persists and remains green all year long (as do most trees in temperate climates). This family is unusual for many reasons, including the singular appearance and for being more closely related to grasses than to the conifer and broadleaf plants commonly known as trees. However, from the earliest history of American exploration, this hardy evergreen has been a symbol of America’s coastal states. It has also become a familiar sight in many Southern cities, where the striking form and great adaptability of trees like the cabbage palmetto have made it a popular street tree. Rebatable?

 

Stay tuned for next week when we discuss the opposites – unsuspecting deciduous trees!

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