New Anti-Heat Technology: Plants!
What does summer mean to you? Longer days, kids’ camp, less traffic, vacation getaways, and perhaps pool time to stave off the heat?
Summer means all that, and one of my favorite events of the year—the American Public Gardens Association annual meeting. Leaders from across the Americas gathered in Portland, Oregon, in June to share learnings about the impact of public gardens, collaborate on conservation initiatives, and work together to improve biodiversity and plant ecologies.
I also visited some stunning landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. When I walk through green spaces, whether here or far away, my impulse is to go low and to go high. I get down low to get a closer look at the patterns of the petals and the wisps of grass. Perhaps my favorite perspective is looking up through the tree canopy to the sky above. I love how sunlight shining through layers of leaves creates an intricate pattern with dark branches winding through. While gazing up, I often lay my hand on the tree’s trunk and consider how long it has been shading people and cleaning the air. Just as we take care of trees and plants, they take care of us.
During our hot summers, the cooling effect of trees and urban forests is profound. Cities like ours become urban heat islands where heat is trapped in asphalt, concrete, steel, and brick. Trees and plants, through shading and evapotranspiration, can help reduce temperatures by up to 9 degrees! Local researchers have identified which trees have the greatest impact on improving the air, mitigating floods, and reducing the heat island, with live oaks and sycamores topping the list. Right now, with temperatures what they are, all those trees sound pretty important.
You can get out to the Garden and other green spaces this summer to feel the difference plants make on the heat. The Garden is open early for members each day at 8:00 a.m., and stays open late until 8:00 p.m. on Fridays so visitors can take advantage of more pleasant early evening temperatures. See below for fun things going on at the Garden, and tips on how to care for your garden during the hot summer to ensure that it also takes care of you!
Claudia Gee Vassar, President & General Counsel
Read the July 2022 e-newsletter for more, including details on the popular food truck that makes summer visits to the Garden more refreshing; information on how plants adapt for drought conditions, and Horticulture Help for conserving water around the outside of your home while still enjoying a healthy landscape; and profiles of a donor couple who made a significant investment in a relaxing spot adjacent to the popular Water Play in the Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden and one of the Garden’s “spotlight volunteers,” who has been involved almost from the beginning.