Social Distance in Gardening, Part IV
In this column, we continue emphasis on maintaining social distance while developing specific actions within three priorities for gardening during these difficult times.
We should commit ourselves to the eventual reduction of the coronavirus threat. This surely will happen in time, according to expert analyses, as long as everyone continues the mitigation measures that are being described by the media,
We can sustain and build our optimism by observing the ongoing natural development of our gardens. Our plants follow their seasonal growth patterns, and we can be assured that nature still functions despite this temporary disruption.
Our gardens illustrate this reality in many ways. One pleasing example is the emergence of apple blossoms, which signal the annual development of fruit.
1. Care for Your Garden
Part of caring for your garden is reviewing and improving your home’s preparations for wild-fire season.
The patterns of recent history have included limited rainfall and dry plants during the period from May through December, and the occurrence of wildfire sin June, July and August. We are not predicting similar patterns for this year, but we will experience fire dangers depends in part on the dryness of the environment.
We are not predicting fire dangers, but we are recommending readiness. This could require time and effort, so now is a good time to begin the process.
If your home is within or close to a forested area, you are probably already quite aware of fire dangers. If your home is in a more urban area, but surrounded by trees and shrubs, you should be complacent. Vegetation around your home could become dry and flammable, and airborne burning embers could travel a mile or more from a wildfire site.
In either situation, consider developing your landscaping to establish an adequate defensible space around your home and to include fire-resistant plants.
The good news is that a fire-resistant landscape can increase your property value and conserve water while beautifying your home. The following priority section includes online sources of information to support these developments.
2. Advance Your Gardening Knowledge
CalFire’s website offers detailed online information for developing a fire-resistant landscape.
Important steps toward this goal include choosing fire-resistant plants and landscaping materials. Many plants are fire-resistant while none are completely fire-proof. Good choices include succulents, which have high moisture content, and hardwood trees, which have low sap or resin content.
A group of universities in Oregon has compiled information on plant selection in a free online publication. Browse to www.firefree.org and click on “fire resistant plants”
Additional recommendations for fire-resistant plant selection is provided by Pacific Horticulture magazine.
3. Enrich Your Gardening Days
While you are sheltering in place, visit virtually other places of interest to gardeners. Here are three botanical gardens in California that share their horticultural riches on the Internet, while inviting personal visits when that will again be possible.
- The University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley. “The 34-acre UC Botanical Garden is one of the most diverse landscapes in the world, with over 10,000 types of plants including many rare and endangered species. Organized geographically, the Garden features 9 regions of naturalistic plantings from Italy to South Africa, along with a major collection of California native plants.”
- The Huntington Botanical Gardens. Schedule enough time to absorb all of the impressive displays of this garden. “Explore living collections of orchids and camellias, a botanical conservatory, fragrant rose garden, children’s garden and more, in 16 themed gardens spread over 120 acres.”
- The University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum and Botanical Garden. I must include the Monterey Bay area’s fine botanical garden, which “ maintains collections of rare and threatened plants of unusual scientific interest. Particular specialties are world conifers, primitive angiosperms, and bulb-forming plant families. Large assemblages of plants from California natives, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand are displayed on the grounds.”
There are more excellent public gardens in the United States, and several lists of the top choices. Conduct your own list by searching the Internet for “Best botanical gardens in the US.” We’ll plan virtual tours of the world’s best gardens another time.
Enjoy your gardens and gardening and stay healthy.