Plant of the Week ... The Fraser Fir

Living Christmas Trees are Fun


As the world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ new beginnings are felt and welcomed.

Planting a tree can be fun and rewarding for many years.

Planting a live Christmas tree as a family can be one of those special fond positive memories. The NorthernHemisphere days start to grow longer at about the same time. This can be very encouraging for a tree with a new location. Southern Hemisphere days grow shorter and can lead to less care, especially watering worries. Evergreens can be planted year ‘round. Except for the brief 2- to 3-week growing period, transplanting can be successful too.

In these days of worldwide worry and tragedy intimate action with the natural world can be very gratifying. Children exposed to the incredible wonders of the digital age through digital games or viewing shows and movies can get a bit detached from our shared Mother Nature. Exposed to the instant news of war and tragedy can cause some to feel powerless. Planting can be especially gratifying whether motivated by hope or as a memorial.

Native to the highest regions of the East Coast of the United States (a fact that rankles Vermont and New Hampshire natives and newbies) in the Carolinas these beauties rarely grow above 40 feet. Their shape and size make them a safe alternative to commonly 80 to 100 foot pines and spruces near buildings in high wind vulnerable areas especially near coasts. While a real land planning revival still is a distant hope for the future, especially along the East Coast of the United States you and your family can act positively. Add in the threat of some veryhungry pests that are hard to control in their native environs you may behelping establish a recovery population base.

Besides being beautiful, hearty and strong a Fraser Fir can represent intimate family history and historical reference on a larger scale. John Fraser was an explorer and pioneer in many respects. His life overlapped with the timing of Europe becoming international in many respects. Born in 1750 he had the advantage of living through a period when fellow Scotsmen and their neighbors to the South had established a life far enough beyond subsistence to appreciation of the individual beauty of plants. Add in an Einstein of his day named Linnaeus his efforts are known and appreciated to this day. Mr. L became frustrated by the magic of discovering new plants all over the world that were carefully drawn,specimen saved and in many cases brought back to Europe alive. Problem was each plant might have several names even in their native countries; add in being named by the discoverer in his/her language and name chaos was the norm. As an example Abies fraseri, Fraser fir (our own common name) had at least 6 Native Language names in their native region of the Appalachian Mountains in the Eastern United States. The Linnean Society became and is the official dispenser of scientific plant names.

His courage and ability to love nature and to do something about it can be a good example of bravery and effectiveness. Fascinated by the Colonies in North America and compounding discoveries during his lifetime including some place called Australia he lived a too short and not rich money wise life. His influence is not widely appreciated now but understood by some then including at least 3 Czars of Russia who eagerly awaited his findings from at least 7 long sea voyages to remote regions. The decision by the Linnaean Society to name the tree in part after Mr. Fraser is easy to understand.

Add in his amazing creation of Plant Catalogs and when you look at your Fraser smile as you await the mid-winter arrival of same. They offer a glimmer of hope, color and beauty as well as an excuse to study and learn for personal enjoyment and enrichment beyond the digital overuse.

Mr. Fraser passed away just over 200 years ago, his work remains to our benefit. The one you keep inside to make Santa smile at a Christmas Time could well be around for that long. A helpful act would be to dig the hole where you would like to plant your own Fraser before the, hopefully White Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all, including all living Frasers.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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