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Growing on the High Plains: Pinyon Pines

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Pinyon? Pinion? Piñon? However you spell it (or say it), today’s Growing on the High Plains concerns another regional state tree. New Mexico lays claim to the pleasant pinyon pine, a fairly small evergreen that thrives across the Southwest. Because these hearty trees don’t need a lot of moisture, the pinyon tends to do well in xeriscaped spaces across the High Plains. Perhaps you’ve enjoyed the aromatic wood of the pinyon around a campfire, or a pinch of pine nuts as a snack? Though the pinyon bears many gifts, they don’t come easy. Pine nuts take years to develop within the cones, and that’s only if there are plenty of trees around for pollination. We enjoy our pinyon pines a great deal. However, if you’re thinking to plant one of your own, be sure to research a reputable source to ensure that wild habitats weren’t disturbed in the procurement of your pinyon (which also often leads to a doomed transplantation).

Years ago Skip Mancini left the rocky coast of Northern California to return to her roots in the heartland. Her San Francisco friends, concerned over her decision to live in a desolate flatland best known for a Hollywood tornado, were afraid she would wither and die on the vine. With pioneer spirit, Skip planted a garden. She began to learn about growing not only flowers and vegetables, but hearts and minds. If you agree that the prairie is a special place, we think you'll enjoy her weekly sojourns into Growing on the High Plains.