The Bighorn Fire in the Catalina Mountains near Tucson, AZ. started on June 5th of 2020 and as I sit and write this a few weeks later on June 30th it is still burning. It’s heart breaking, but at this point no lives have been lost and that, of course, is very good news. It’s the Bighorn Fire that started me thinking of my own history with nearby forest fires.
Going up into the upper elevations of the Chiricahua Mountains has been good. I’m renewing old friendships with plants I grew twenty years ago and I even find my myself thinking it would be fun to grow some more ponderosa pines and Apache pines or certainly the beautiful shrub mountain spray (Holodiscus dumosus) or New Mexico raspberry (Rubus neomexicana). For crying out loud, I took cuts of mountain nettle (Urtica gracilenta)! Sad. Maybe old horticulturists don’t retire…I don’t know. Stay tuned.
The photos are mine. One photo of young pine trees in among all the burned trees upright and down. They are mainly ponderosa pine, but also southwest white pine and Douglas fir in the mix. The photo of the tiny pine seedlings in our greenhouse is a copy of a 35 mm slide from 2001 or ’02. And a photo of the nettle and the soon to be tingling fingers. Oh, and one last photo, a favorite of mine of Spadefoot Nursery back in the day…a glorious mess of plants, carts, containers and hanging laundry.
And before I forget, the USFS employee that was in charge of my Forest Service grow out was Misty Dawn Widick Shafiqullah. Well, she still is Misty, but retired from the Forest Service. She handled this crazy nurseryman well and we got the job done. Alleluia!