In botany an evergreen plant is always green because it retains its leaves throughout the seasons. It has an identical dictionary meaning that is also singular. A quick examination of ‘evergreen’ in a thesaurus reveals no entries found, no other word that approximates its meaning. So evergreen stands bold in the lexicon and in the season of winter as something that persists; it has a solid, positive feel.
I tend to think of evergreens as plants confined to places where the winter is cold. This thought was chased away on a recent trip to South Africa and cycads were much in evidence in the gardens visited. They are ancient plants, also, as noted, evergreen, and have changed little since the Jurassic period (dated at between 199.00 million and 145.5 million years ago). Evergreen in every sense of the word.
Evergreen trees are particularly valued around the holidays since the green of conifers, particularly, make an enchanting backdrop for lights and decorations. Calvin Coolidge was the first US president to light a national Christmas tree, so 2015 will be the 93rd celebration of the tradition. Although, it can be said with a straight face that there are usually more lights than green on the said tree.
In the Dunn Gardens we have our expected share of evergreens. However, a stand that has weathered a time longer than the national tree tradition is particularly lovely. It consists of three douglas-firs, now 100 years old, that add majestic grace to the end of the Great Lawn. The trees were babies when Frederick Dawson, of the Olmsted Brothers’ Firm, designed the property for Arthur Dunn in 1915. They have matured along with the Gardens and feel iconic when you see them. Trees, people, and institutions tend to flourish like that when they are loved and supported for a long time.
As the Dunn Gardens closes out its Centennial Year we would like to thank everyone who has supported us both over the year and over the years. You have given us hope that the Dunn will be evergreen for another century. Thank you.