First Person: After the Fire

I think the plants speak for themselves…

Last January, PHS member Jacqui Bally emailed me to express gratitude for the inspiration and resources she gathered while attending several past PHS programs in both San Diego County and Santa Barbara. “In particular, the Santa Barbara/Montecito tour was excellent in helping me make informed fire safe choices for my half-acre garden.”

In early December 2017, the Creek fire, a firestorm that erupted in Kagel Canyon just north of Los Angeles, swept through her neighborhood. “Ours was the only [home] in our neighborhood of seven houses that didn’t burn to the ground.” A reprieve Jacqui credits to her fire-safe landscaping plant choices.

Jacqui sent me the following photos along with a note: “I think the plants speak for themselves—and that’s what Pacific Horticulture is all about.”

“The fire consumed the southeast-facing slope of our property that was planted with rosemary, aloe, and “fire retardant” plants, but stopped shy of the home.” Photo: Jacqui Bally

“The fire consumed the southeast-facing slope of our property that was planted with rosemary, aloe, and “fire retardant” plants, but stopped shy of the home.” Photo: Jacqui Bally

The southwest-facing front of the house was spared. “You can’t even tell there was a fire! My fire sticks, pride of Madeira, agaves, aloes, and barrel cacti all survived just fine.” Unfortunately, a neighbor’s home 100 yards away burned to the ground. Photo: Jacqui Bally

The southwest-facing front of the house was spared. “You can’t even tell there was a fire! My fire sticks, pride of Madeira, agaves, aloes, and barrel cacti all survived just fine.” Unfortunately, a neighbor’s home 100 yards away burned to the ground. Photo: Jacqui Bally

Lantana and rosemary on the hillside didn’t come through, but the agaves survived. Photo: Jacqui Bally

Lantana and rosemary on the hillside didn’t come through, but the agaves survived. Photo: Jacqui Bally

The fire came up to and stopped at a large stand of fire sticks (left) and jade (right). Photos: Jacqui Bally

The fire came up to and stopped at a large stand of fire sticks (left) and jade (right). Photos: Jacqui Bally