Ready for a wild fire? Time to jump on this opportunity and add diversity and color to your landscaping. Bottom line – we don’t want to put lives of any firefighters in danger saving our home nor do we want to endanger our neighbors’ lives or property.
ZONE 1: 0 – 15’ - 30’ outward from your home. Increase the distance on the downhill side. Avoid planting anything in the 5 feet closest to your structure. Think native rock covered with lichen!
Below are a few of my favorites for 8,800’, south-facing
PRIORITIES: low to the ground (1”- 4”); a low sap resin content; drought tolerant at 8,800’; and easy to maintain once established. These plants
· are in full sun, some partial shade;
· are in decomposed granitic soil amended with a little compost (5%) – well drained soil, no fertilizer;
· terrain is ‘sculpted’ so that water from gutters, roof and slope naturally irrigate plants needing a little more moisture
· watered in until established;
· not invasive at this altitude;
· are transplants or purchased in small containers grown in nurseries or by Gilpin County Master Gardeners!
· flammable pine needle duff mulch is replaced with native gravels
Pussytoes Antennaria parvifolia (Littleleaf), and Antennaria rosea (Rosy) Native; silvery green leaves form a dense mat 1” – 3” tall; tiny white or rose rayless flowers soft to touch, attracts butterflies and bees; sun/partial shade.
Sulphur flowered buckwheat erigonum umbellatum Native; 4” – 12” tall; grey green mat with yellow flowers are tinged with deep orange, copper or rusty red.; keep their color when dry; great for flower arrangements!
Kinnikinnick (Bearberry) Arctistaophylos uva-ursi Native; spreading woody perennial; 3”-6” tall; waxy green evergreen leaves; little white flowers in spring and red berries in fall; attract birds, hummingbirds and small mammals; slow to get established; fabulous year round; remove dead branch tips in spring.
Dwarf Mountain Fleabane Erigeron compositus Native; 3” tall; mounding plant; attracts butterflies; pinkish purple ray flowers have yellow centers; blooms early throughout summer.
Turkish Veronica Speedwell Veronica liwanensis Intense blue flowers can last 6 weeks at this altitude; bright glossy green leaves year round; 2” high; spreads to form dense mat, show stopper!
Creeping Cinqfoil Potentilla reptans Small yellow flowers; spreads by underground runners; 2” – 5” high; spreads rapidly in some environments.
My two favorite hardiest sedums:
Dragon’s Blood Sedum Sedum spurium Succulent with bright green leaves about 2” tall that turn shades of maroon towards fall; pink, reddish flowers are small and star shaped.
Blue Spruce Sedum Sedum reflexum 'Blue Spruce' I like its spruce needle like leaves and yellow flowers; spreads slowly; evergreen.
3 hardy thymes:
Creeping Thyme Thymus praecox Purple flowers are attractive to bees; spreads slowly as mat; deer resistant; edible; fragrant; steppable.
Elfin Thyme Thymus serpyllum Forms very dense mat 1” high; aromatic; steppable; green to grayish foliage in summer; attracts bees.
Woolly thyme Thymus. pseudolanuginosus A little taller than creeping thyme 2” – 3”; tolerates light traffic; aromatic , deer resistant; edible.
Irish Moss Sagina Dense, moss-green cushions that like shade; 1-2” tall; tiny white flowers in springtime; deer resistant. I planted a few of these in our dry streambed, underneath the roofline to catch moisture on the north side of our house. In 3 years they are filling in around the rocks nicely.
FIRST YEAR – SLEEP
SECOND YEAR – CREEP
THIRD YEAR – LEAP
· https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/p12a6uohfkd/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal Webinar on fire wise landscaping by Gilpin County Extension Agent Irene Shonle
· http://csfs.colostate.edu/wildfire-mitigation/defensible-space/ Specifics on zones and creating defensible space
· http://www.extension.colostate.edu/gilpin/natu/fire.shtml grass seed mixtures to reduce fire hazards
· http://www.conps.org/Committees/horticulture.shtml - Colorado native Plant society has retail suggestions on where you can purchase container plants and native seeds