Travis Whitcomb, a Sunland-Tujunga area teen, drove the renovation of Los Angeles Fire Department Station 74’s landscape as his Eagle Scout project. The garden now features lush, leafy, fire-wise native foliage that beautifies and shades the community’s commercial district along Foothill Boulevard.
This young native oak will grow to have an expansive tree canopy. It is positioned to shade not only the garden but an adjacent drive and sidewalk without interfering with power lines or the visibility of traffic signs.
The small, dense leaves of native oaks help the trees withstand drought. New leaf growth is so lovely it can easily be mistaken for blooms.
The Black Sage and Coyote Mint foliage seen here is fragrant year round.
Coyote Mint’s fresh scent is every bit as delightful as its purple pom-pom blooms adored by pollinators of all kinds. Again, its leaf structure helps it maintain hydration through drought.
Chia or Black sage appears dark green or lightly silver depending upon what else in the garden is in bloom. It’s small leathery leaves are designed to handle high, dry heat.
As Coyote Mint and Black Sage blooms fade, green mounds of Deer Grass erupt with wands of golden seeds. Aesthetically, it is a good replacement for those who adore the look of arsonist Fountain Grass.
A dry river transversing the space further encourages stormwater to stay onsite, driving it into the soil where it can be cleaned on the way to groundwater tables and the ocean. Proactively directing water can protect slopes.
The garden exemplifies the qualities of a fire (and slide) wise landscape. Its native foliage withstands the high heat and moisture of Valley summers, decreasing the chances that it will be ready-fuel for fire. More importantly, it contains none of the combustible invasive plants popularized as “drought tolerant” in recent years.
See more authentic, fire wise foliage in Pinterest.