Sonoma Strong Plants

Sonoma Strong Plants

My mission to learn more about how plant in our area recover from fire damage


After the fire storm passed through our area of Northern California, I began wondering what plants may show signs of tolerating the flames better or worse then others. 

Plants with herbaceous root systems below ground fared much better then others. Native plants, ornamental grasses, bulbs, and spreading ground covers are among those that have recovered quickly.

 California Native Coffee berry regrows after fire damage.

California Native Coffee berry regrows after fire damage.

One of the first things I noticed was all of the California Native Coffee Berries, Frangula californica, were burnt hard in all of my fire effected gardens. Some of my Ceanothus plants were burned around, but had little damage.

Elderberries I thought were total a total loss and Olives that I just wasn't sure about. At first its hard to say what will make it and what wont. So I wanted to watch and learn as much as I could.

 

 
 I love this roadside planting of Breeze grass on Fountaingrove parkway. It is coming back with the vibrant #SonomaStrong spirit. 

I love this roadside planting of Breeze grass on Fountaingrove parkway. It is coming back with the vibrant #SonomaStrong spirit. 

I saw a stand on one of my favorite plants, Lomandra Breeze grass that was completely burned out, but quickly reviving.

This is the power of grasses, the early plant colonizers of the globe, They can survive almost anywhere and in any environment, facing varying adversities. 

 Lomandra 'Breeze grass' Recovering after the fires. This evergreen grass does well in both sun and shade. It's one tough cookie holding up to fire!

Lomandra 'Breeze grass' Recovering after the fires. This evergreen grass does well in both sun and shade. It's one tough cookie holding up to fire!


 Carpentaria californica recovering with new growth.

Carpentaria californica recovering with new growth.

After a few months, I have revisited some of my initial assessments. Ceanothus, the Californica lilac, will always be a favorite of mine, and Lomandra has earned a place on my most esteemed plant list.

Carpenteria,  California Bush anemone made a reappearance after a little rain and a hard pruning.

I am eager to see the wildflowers in the spring. Native plants seem to be the stand out winning choice.

 
 Blacklace Elderberry survived through it's well established root system.

Blacklace Elderberry survived through it's well established root system.

Elderberry is a natural riparian plant. These special garden cultivars hold up just as well as their native cousins

I learned that Elderberries like fire and the ones in my gardens that were decimated are sprouting from the base, As are most of my Native Coffee berries!

It will be a while for this one to recover in full, but it was very badly burned.

 


For many years I have landscaped in the high fire danger areas in Sonoma and Marin counties in Northern California. Dozens of the gardens I have designed and built have been destroyed by fires in the heartbreaking loss of the October fire storm. I hope that my awareness of the area and involvement in gardens effected by the fires can help improve knowledge available from people who see the plants and their responses first hand.

 Phlomis, Jerselem sage with healthy new leaves emerging.

Phlomis, Jerselem sage with healthy new leaves emerging.

My finding have left me with a renewed enthusiasm for Native plants, Ornamental Grasses and Herbaceous perennials and I hope this insight can be helpful and inspiring to everyone in the rebuild process of healing the land after a fire storm.

I am always available for a consultation or to answer any question you may have about rebuilding your garden sustainably.

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