What is Garden Hygiene? This is related to a California Garden, but
most Mediterranean areas are similar.
I like to think of Garden Hygiene as the control of weeds, picking up
trash, and pruning dead stuff, but it really goes further.
A clean and stable landscape will have the plants in the right places,
not be planted too full, have walks and paths. The plants will look
healthy, have most of; the dead material removed, and have the
dust regularly washed off.
The garden will be tidy. No garbage.
No cardboard boxes of newspapers that never made it to the recycling
center, or the broken trellis, or the pile of fire wood stacked next to
the house with leaves on it. How about the lattice under the deck with
the dead spring annuals stuck in it? The old car on blocks should also
be removed along with the potting shed that is more of a shack that
Pictures help. Take some pictures of your yard and pretend you're going
to show them to a magazine editor, or your snottiest relative. What
looks like poo? Remove the poo or replace with less poo.
Has the roof got a sag in it from all the leaves on it, clean them
off.; Gutters full of pine needles? One of the larger fire studies
found that the biggest threat to homes was embers falling from the sky.
If you have a 60 foot zone around the
house that is highly managed, you can survive most wildfires.
Decks and deck furniture should be
surveyed. Pretend you have ten buckets of burning wooden
matches that you are throwing off of the peak of the roof, some are
landing on the roof, some on the deck some in the yards. Can the
stuff there survive that?
Has the house been painted and repaired? Sounds dumb, but that
hole in the wall makes a great place for a rabbit that is on fire to
run to escape. Likewise is the space under the steps or deck and
remember that wood pile. Close those spaces up. Move the wood pile(s)
away from the structures.
Divide the garden up into little patches of plant communities or
activity centers. Swing set here, treehouse there, coastal sage native
garden here, herb garden there, water feature over there, paths and
walks breaking them up.