A live, 25-foot blue spruce tree with a tag noting "Sold to First Lady" arrived at the Governor's Mansion at 1 p.m. Thursday. It is the official Christmas tree of the Governor's Mansion.
What made this tree special? It was donated.
"I've been working on this tree since June, trying to get it donated," said Dema Guinn. "Well, I got it, but I still don't know who donated it."
Decorating the tree will start in about a week, but Mrs. Guinn said she is still looking for that perfect tree top - something shiny and sparkling.
She has invited all elementary schools in Carson City to have students make decorations for the tree, a tradition she hopes will carry on after husband Kenny Guinn leaves the governor's office.
"I want kids to be able come by in 10 or 20 years and say 'I made that ornament.' I want it to be special for them." The official tree lighting will take place at 6 p.m. Dec. 7 by Gov. and Mrs. Guinn, who will be formally dressed for the occasion.
The tree arrived in a truck along with three birch trees for the mansion lawn and another 25-foot blue spruce for the capitol grounds. Truck driver Michael Czerwinsky of Brehm Transportation in Reno picked up the trees in Oregon.
The tree, worth up to $8,000, was planted in a 6 by 6 by 4-foot deep hole in the southeast corner of the front lawn. Workers from the state Buildings and Grounds Department along with certified arborists Robert Lopez of Stay Green Tree Co. in Carson City and Greg Ricketts of G & R Tree Service in Carson City helped complete the project.
The tree was the height of the holiday decorating excitement for the first lady and several of her staff. They have been busy decorating the interior of the mansion and the North Hall. Everyone left their posts, though, to watch the planting.
The root ball of the tree weighed about 3,600 pounds. Sprinkler lines had to be capped off in the area of the hole to accommodate the planting.
"It will take maybe a couple of days for the limbs to relax," said Lopez. "In the late spring, I'll come back and inject the soil around the base of the tree with a fungus inoculate. This stuff will attack the root spores to expand them. It helps the tree go through this stress period."
The blue spruce, in this area and climate, can grow 3-4 feet a year and will produce 8- to12-inch pine cones, or "candles," as they are commonly called.
People who have reserved the North Hall for parties will be allowed to see the mansion, but it will not be open to the general public for viewing.
"I'm trying to decorate so that the people who are using the room will not have to worry about bringing in other decorations," said Guinn. "The tables will be decorated with tablecloths and candles. I also left my Father Christmas in here. I'd rather have him in the house, but more people will see him in here."
Each of the trees, within the mansion and North Hall, took 4-6 hours to decorate. "Dema has a real wonderful eye for decorating," said Dedee Nave, personal friend and head of residential display for Ralph Jones in Las Vegas, where Guinn has purchased most of the decorations.
Nave helped design ornaments exclusive to the Guinns. They are made of pressed tin with the Nevada state seal on them. Another unique ornament is a crystal globe of the earth, with the approximate location of Carson City marked with a small blue gem.