Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Sunset: Western Garden
The new, 7th, edition of Sunset: Western Garden, by Kathleen Norris Brenzel (Sunset Books, 2001; $36), is an improved version of everybody's favorite gardening manual for our region. Many gardeners cut their teeth on earlier versions of this book, sometimes referred to as the gardening Bible of the West.
In addition to the easy-to-use plant selection guide, the new edition contains more than 2,000 brand-new entries in the plant encyclopedia, all new, four-color illustrations, and improved climate zones. There are two indexes to help you find exactly what you are looking for quickly and easily, whether it's a specific plant photograph, common or scientific plant names, or information on gardening terms and topics. With 768 pages of useful information, this new edition is a valuable asset to any garden shed.
As many of you know, the ancient redwood (Sequoiadendron gigantea) called Luna was attacked with a chainsaw last December. The Circle of Life Foundation is a non-profit group involved with helping save Luna. (www.circleoflifefoundation.org) They report tree experts, including world-renowned arborists, canopy biologists, foresters, and engineers, have been creating lasting solutions that will keep the symbolic tree living and standing tall.
Civil engineer Steve Salzman explained the structural integrity inherent in a redwood tree: "From a structural point of view the trunk of an old-growth redwood tree is over designed. That is why redwoods more often tip over than snap off. Cutting 60% of the trunk has greatly diminished its ability to withstand wind and seismic loading. We have reinforced the tree with cables and steel bracing to replace some of the strength that has been lost. We will never be able to fully replicate
the original strength embodied in the dynamic living system of a redwood tree."
The medical team working on Luna designed a noninvasive cabling system that attaches Luna's massive trunk to three other trees in the protected grove. The grove was protected a year ago and deeded to the land trust Sanctuary Forest under the Luna Preservation Agreement between Julia Hill and Pacific Lumber. Canopy biologists attached a collar 100 feet high in the tree and shot cable to trees that have similar collars and will act as anchor points to stabilize the tree.
Some arborists have suggested cutting off weak limbs in the crown because dieback is expected.
Dennis Yniguez, the president of the American Society of Consulting Arborists and the coordinator of the Luna medical team, has offered some hope for this giant redwood. "This chainsaw attack has been a grievous injury to Luna. Nonetheless, she is a coast redwood, one of the world's most resilient trees, and 40% of her systems are still intact. We can expect significant dieback in her canopy, but we can also expect her to stand tall for many more years," he says.