Obstacles, 1972-1990




Listen to Ruth talk about the early obstacles in the Garden and the value of persistence in gardening.




Climate Change and the Garden

 Massive stack of 40 plus frost boxes (wooden frames covered in plastic) waiting to be spread out in the Garden to cover frost sensitive plants.

Ruth’s many freeze boxes to combat the cold

Roughly 50 years ago, Ruth encountered an extreme weather event, the historic freeze that almost decimated her Garden. Looking ahead 50 years, the Garden can expect many more unpredictable and extreme weather events, as our climate is drastically altered. Annual average temperatures will rise and extended droughts and extreme rainfall events are also predicted.

View of frozen Garden pond during 1972 freeze, ground is covered in snow. Looking west you can see downtown Walnut Creek in the distance and orchards in the foreground.

Pond and garden after 1972 frost.

We are already seeing the impacts of climate change in our lives and in the Garden, including increased plant stress, susceptibility to pests and pathogens, and changes in phenology (the annual cycles of life). For plants outside of the Garden, in their native habitats, climate change may be all the more destructive. Deserts and Mediterranean climates are predicted to be the ecosystems most vulnerable to global climate change and with the greatest proportional change in biodiversity.

As we face these threats, we hope to be as adaptable and resilient as Ruth. We can’t stop climate change from happening, we are already experiencing it, but we can work to keep those damages to a minimum, and we can adapt to make sure that the future is more livable.

Additional Resources

  • Check out Landscape For Life, a guide for creating more sustainable, and climate friendly gardens here.
  • See how Walnut Creek is addressing climate change on the local level with their Sustainability Action Plan.


Click on the image on the left for a close-up of the Golden Jubilee Sign #6. 







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