The Sunland-Tujunga community at the far north east of the San Fernando Valley experiences high, dry heat and is wrapped in fire-prone foothills. The community has taken steps to mitigate its fire danger.
In addition to the rewilding of the Sunland Welcome Nature Garden, the garden at Los Angeles Fire Department Station 74 models an optimally fire-wise landscape aesthetic and beautifies an industrial segment of Foothill Boulevard. The highly sloped garden includes a young native oak, a dry river to direct water, and a mix of low-maintenance, fire-wise native foliage.
The Black Sage and Coyote Mint foliage seen here is fragrant year round.
Even when these delightful pom-pom like blooms disappear, Coyote Mint will scent the air with its fresh fragrance.
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.
The density of native oaks’ leaves create deep, cooling shade, creating a more temperate environment for surrounding foliage. These beautiful canopies are the preferred or sole habitat for many native fauna.
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.
Even while young, oak tree canopy is dense enough to provide significant shade.
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.
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.
The garden was then-sixteen year old Travis Whitcomb’s Eagle Scout project. Whitcomb noticed the barren area and committed to providing the fire fighters with a beautiful, easy to maintain space. He also aimed to provide the Sunland-Tujunga community with a model for fire-wise landscaping. Whitcomb harnessed the goodwill of community members from throughout Sunland-Tujunga, including FormLA Landscaping, to design and install the garden.
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