Yes, Clark retired from the food-additive business some years ago and he and Ellen moved south. In fact they are right next door to me. So it was natural for "Sparky" to ask what firs grow on the Gulf Coast. The answer is of course, the "Momi Fir" (Abies firma) and ur,well, the "Momi Fir". I gave him more information than he could possibly want. Abies firma is native to southern Japan, highly resistant to phytophthora root rot, has been grown successfully along the Gulf Coast for nearly 100 years, is a sturdy tree, though slow growing...-he stopped me there. "Slow!, how many lights can it hold at three years after planting?". Clark's Momi Fir, pictured here at 15 years, has taught him the virtue of patience and with his new LED lights and the cherry picker Ellen made him buy last year, our neighbor is the envy of tony, little Fairhope.
So why do we not see this tree everywhere in the south, proudly planted near the mailbox and covered each year with twinkle lights? Like so many plants with potential it is not widely known. Nor is it widely grown in the nursery trade and for one reason-it is slow. Criminy. That should actually be a good reason to grow it.
Take another look at the picture and imagine yet another ubiquitous Leyland Cypress in its place. You wouldn't see the porch. The deep south is discovering a world of new conifers suited for the region and though hardly new, Momi Fir ranks among the elite.
Excuse me, I gotta get the door. Some guy in a green leisure suit just drove across the lawn in an old RV.