June 04, 2010

Would You Set Your Garden on Fire?

The time of wild fires is approaching, When drought makes conditions right lightning, careless persons or arsonists start small fires that escalate. Homeowners all over the world worry about the possiblity of  fire.

Two summers ago during a drought there was a huge fire in the eastern part of Georgia, 200 miles from us. Smoke carried all the way over here and as far north as Atlanta. Town Mouse had fire near her home last October:


Our county has become the first in the 16-county Southwest Georgia Forestry district to be certified 'firewise' which means the county has taken steps to protect property and lives in case of encroaching wildfire. Among the tactics used are prescribed burns, long a method of protecting pine forests from wildfires. Steps in creating a protected home environment include a 3-foot fire-free area on all sides of a house, clear the buildup of pine needles and leaves from the base of a house, trimming low hanging limbs over the house and deciduous trees rather then evergreens close to structures.

I wouldn't set the whole garden on fire, but a little prescribed burn might help a few plants. When Susie gave me some Gulf Muhly plants, she told me that 'the guys at the Lab burn Muhly grass in the winter.' I set mine on fire and the pine needle mulch that I thought was raked back caught fire, too.  Care is needed for prescribed burns.

Muhly grass, Melampodium and Purslane

It's hard to see the coming infloresence that looks like cotton candy in fall.
Meanwhile, we'll just set the garden on fire with Tithonia and Daylilies

Hot colors for a hot summer.

Wildflowers are blooming in the median of Highway 84 outside the last Georgia town on the way to Dothan, AL. A month ago when we passed by, mowers were cutting very tall weeds in the median. Now blossoms in drifts of coreopsis, moss verbena and other summer annuals brighten the scene.
Maintaining a meadow requires some kind of management of weeds and trash trees like wild cherry. We use a combination here of summer and fall mowing and early spring controlled burns.

Pics and text are from the garden of Nell Jean at Dotty Plants Journal in the hot, humid depths of Southwest Georgia USA where the heady fragrance of gardenias makes going out in the heat almost bearable. Coming inside to a glass of iced Ruby Tea, dark and barely sweet is a constant treat. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids when the weather is hot.

1 comment:

Bernie said...

We, of course, are a country that's had lots of experience with bushfires ... and know how bad they can be! Burn-offs are an attempt to reduce that damage ... so here in my part of the world, burn-offs are common.

Town councils burn-off bushland around my city every year, including on the hill that's situated right in the centre of our city.

Out where I live ... an outlying rural suburb ... the Volunteer Fire Brigade help out property owners to do their own burn-offs. We need to apply first ... then they will oversee the whole thing.

At my property, we clear a three-metre area of bushland to help protect our home and gardens. We don't have gutters on our roof ... as they can harbour live ashes ... and we make sure our irrigation system or hand-held hoses can reach all parts of our yard. It's all common sense stuff when you live in drought prone areas that have stinking hot summers.

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