Storm drops more than 1" of Rain!

On the 9th of November, I measured 1.05" of rainfall from the prior hours of storm.  Another 0.02" fell that day.  Now it really feels like we have hit the start of not only the rainy seasons, but the PLANTING SEASON!  Californians in touch with their environment all breath a sign of relief when we get a storm like that. 

 Here's the rain I've recorded to date this water year:


Date Recorded	Amount (in.)	Cumulative(in.)
9/10/2022	0.49	        0.49
10/12/2022	0.17	        0.66
10/15/2022	0.1	        0.76
11/2/2022	0.02	        0.78
11/9/2022	1.05	        1.83
11/10/2022	0.02	        1.85
As a reminder, the local water year is usually October 1 through September 30 of the following year. The water year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends, so we are in the 2023 water year.

At last, the elusive Canyon Sunflower

Every time I've looked for the past years, Canyon Sunflower (Venegasia carpesiodies) has been unavailable. It's been frustrating, but I guess it's a popular plant. I got the last two remaining at the Payne Foundation yesterday (actually one forlorn and broken stump of a plant remained and I debated taking it if they would give it at a discount).


Purchased at the Payne Foundation in the last couple weeks: 

  • Eriogonum crocatum (Conejo Buckwheat or Saffron Buckwheat) 1G 1 $12.60
  • Constancea (Eriophyllum) nevinii (Catalina silverlace or Nevin's woolly sunflower) 1G 2 $18.00
  • Polystichum munitum (Western sword fern) 4" 5 $36.00
  • Bouteloua gracilis (Blue Grama grass) 1G 3 $27.00
  • Euphorbia misera (Cliff Spurge) 1G 1 $10.80
  • Chlorogalum pomeridianum (Soap Plant) (Seed) Packet 1 $9.00
  • Venegasia carpesioides (Canyon Sunflower) 1G 2 $23.80
  • Bouteloua gracilis (Blue Grama grass) 1G 1 $8.50
  • Bulbs (Calochortus Californica) - $10  1 $8.50
  • Bulbs (Allium unifolium) - $12  1 $10.20
  • Bulbs (?) - $8 1 $6.80
  • Phacelia campanularia - Desert Canterbury Bells (Seed) Packet 1 $5.10  


I visited before the sale for the selection and during the sale to check back for some missing items.  While my strategy was good, my tactics lacked sufficiency for the task since I didn't have detailed plant lists.  However, I do maintain lists of plants that I'm interested in and I used those plus my desire to incorporate more silver/gray foliage plants to make my selections.


Rain 0.49" 9-10-2022

A tropical storm brought us nearly half an inch of rain the other day. It was appreciated, though a bit odd to have rain at this time of year. 0.49" 9-10-2022


Rain 0.1"; ranfall total 10.39"

Date 	Amount (in.)	Cumulative
10/5/2021	0.08	0.08
10/26/2021	0.45	0.53
12/7/2021	0.02	0.55
12/8/2021	0.05	0.6
12/14/2021	1.15	1.75
12/16/2021	0.48	2.23
12/17/2021	0.04	2.27
12/24/2021	2.40	4.67
12/26/2021	0.45	5.12
12/27/2021	0.20	5.32
12/30/2021	3.75	9.07
2/15/2022	0.09	9.16
12/23/2022	0.02	9.18
3/20/2022	0.20	9.38
3/28/2022	0.81	10.19
3/29/2022	0.10	10.29
4/21/2022	0.10	10.39


0.1” rain; 10.29" rainfal total for the season

This was the tail end of the storm that I recorded on the previous day. We had just over 5" in my backyard the previous year, so this is a relative upgrade.


Rainfall total 9.38" as of 21 Mar 2022

December was great for the garden and then...virtually nothing until last Saturday when we got a surprise and welcome 0.2".
2020-2021 rainfall		
Date Recorded	Amount (in.)	Cumulative
10/5/2021		0.08	0.08
10/26/2021		0.45	0.53
12/7/2021		0.02	0.55
12/8/2021		0.05	0.6
12/14/2021		1.15	1.75
12/16/2021		0.48	2.23
12/17/2021		0.04	2.27
12/24/2021		2.4	4.67
12/26/2021		0.45	5.12
12/27/2021		0.2	5.32
12/30/2021		3.75	9.07
2/15/2022		0.09	9.16
12/23/2022		0.02	9.18
3/20/2022		0.2	9.38


Rain to date

There's a series of storms coming in which make me hopeful that this year we will finish the wet season with somewhat normal rainfall. Our completely dry November was anomalous but the 1+ inches of rain that I noted on 12/14 seemed to get the garden back on track. Irises divided early in November are doing well and the rest of the garden has perked up. For native plants, I find that now (or better yet right before or after a light rainfall) is a really good time to water: The extra water coupled with the timing just makes the plant "think" that it just had a better soaking than Mother Nature actually delivered. Rainfall totals below are in inches as recorded in my backyard.
Date       Amount  Cumulative
10/5/2021   0.08    0.08
10/26/2021  0.45    0.53
12/7/2021   0.02    0.55
12/8/2021   0.05    0.6
12/14/2021  1.15    1.75
12/16/2021  0.48    2.23
12/17/2021  0.04    2.27


Rainfall total 5.05"

We had a low rain year, with only 5.05" accounted for in my back yard. I've been less diligent this year about tracking each storm, but I think I'm mostly on target. Regional news is saying that we are back in drought mode but that Southern California is in better shape to get through drought than Northern California due to stored water. The last three years of rainfall backs that story up: S. California accumulated in the prior two years and we'll use that accumulated water this year. Northern California had far less than normal rainfall this year - so much so that you have to look back to the 1970s drought to find the equal. Sierra snowpack is also not overwhelming. Daniel Swain covers this in detail in his weatherwest blog. This bit of drought news, slightly reassuring though it is for me, still makes me want to get a gray water system going. This year's lower amount follows about 16" in 2019-20 and about 25" in 2018-2019, measured in the same location in my back yard. That's the way of California weather - variable; and even more so due to climate change.
2020-2021 rainfall		
Date     Amount (in.)  Cumulative
11/7/2020   0.24        0.24
12/28/2020  1.7         1.94
1/25/2021   0.24        2.18
1/29/2021   1.37        3.55
3/3/2021    0.13        3.68
3/10/2021   0.78        4.46
3/11/2021   0.37        4.83
3/12/2021   0.02        4.85
3/15/2021   0.2         5.05


Calliandra replaces Encelia

 I replaced a perfectly good Encelia farinosa (Brittlebush, Incienso) that had never flowered as prolifically as I wanted with Calliandra eriophylla (Pink fairyduster, Mesquitillo).

The Encelia was at times an inspired choice - it had a ~2.5' rounded growth habit with perennial gray - almost white- leaves that looked great in a summer evening garden.  It glowed in the moonlight.  

However, it grew a bit wide for the spot I had in mind and crowded the top and sides of the small sandy berm on which it was planted.  It never flowered as prolifically as I wanted (I've seen specimens absolutely covered with yellow flowers) and then it recently seemed to be a bit in decline. Pruning could have addressed this, but ultimately I wanted a bit more architectural interest, visibility through the its replacement, attractive flowers, and the ability to use more of the berm on which it was placed.  

 I think that its replacement, Calliandra eriophylla meets those requirements.  I've previously planted its larger relative, Calliandra californica, and it flourished in my garden against a south-facing concrete wall.  C. eriophylla should be a bit more dainty and with appropriate pruning it ought to be a bit more open, sculptural, and accommodating to adjacent plantings.

Purchases at Theodore Payne

 On 11/12/2020 I purchased the following native plants at Theodore Payne

Aquilegia formosa 4" - three @ $12.75 that are now share space in the front rose garden, since they will do well with more water than they are likely to get elsewhere.

Quersuc durata 1G - 1 @ 11.90 - A whim purchase.  Can I grow this on my hillside and keep it low?  This is a shrub oak tree and mine looks like it's two in a 1 gal pot, so root competition may keep it smaller.  Not local to PV, but rather the surrounding LA mountains.  PV is often left off of the "what grows here" charts since it is widely separated from documented occurrences by the moat of greater Los Angeles.  Calflora has a settable parameter with a default of 10 miles of "moat".  With 10 miles or more of separation between a place of documented growth and your area of interest the answer is "doesn't grow there", even if it quite likely used to or will. 

Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn' 1G - 1 @ 10.20 - Tony Baker suggested that I try this in the large pot near my front door.  It gets full direct and reflected sun in summer and hardly any light at all in winter.  Her suggested I pair it with strawberries, which I have did a few weeks ago.  Looking good so far.

Calliandra eriphylla 1G - 1 @11.90 - The smaller and pink version of Baja Fairyduster (Calliandra californica) that may be more garden suitable for me.  Need to make a place for this. This is an eastern desert plant, so my sunny and sandy soil berm will be suitable.

Oenothera elata ssp hookeri 4" - 3 @ 12.75.  Hooker's Evening Primrose.  Hooker is a last name.  This probably wants more water than I planned to give it, so I'm in a bit of a replan about where to put it.  These ended up low on the east side of the native garden berm, near a fountain. 

Lepechinia fragrans 1G - 1 @ 11.90 - I thought my parents might like this, since it is low water and full sun to part shade.  It might work well off the patio of their house.  I have one that's moved around my garden and is now on the lower side of my hill.  It doesn't seem to be doing incredibly well, but a winter in teh ground may help it along.

Dudleya traskiae 1 G - 1 @ 11.90 

Sisrinchium bellum 1 G - 1 @ 8.50 - Planted at my parent's house.  Not even sure why I bought this since I have a ton that could have dug up.

Festuca rubra 'Molate' seed 0.25 lb 17.00 - seems to work well in my yard.

Allium bulbs 2 @ 8.00

1.37” rain

1/29/2021 1.37"

Date RecordedAmount (in.)Cumulative

We are headed for a low rain year at current rates.  I'm adding supplemental water in the garden when it looks cloudy and I think the plants will be appreciative come summer if the rainfall totals stay low.

Brent - via iPhone


Almost 16" of rain this year!

An incredible week of rain gave us nearly 2-1/2 inches in one day bringing the rainfall total to 15.93". That's a substantial amount for most places in coastal Los Angeles and on the fat side of a "normal" annual rainfall.

Something I particularly appreciated was being at home during the rain.  My work is normally quite insulated from weather, so it was nice to hear and see the rain falling.

I doubt there's much rain left in the season, but it didn't disappoint.
Date    Amount (in.) Cumulative
11/20/2019 0.53 0.53
11/21/2019 0.03 0.56
11/29/2019 1.88 2.44
12/1/2019 0.35 2.79
12/4/2019 1.02 3.81
12/7/2019 0.15 3.96
12/23/2019 3.29 7.25
12/24/2019 0.04 7.29
12/26/2019 1.69 8.98
1/17/2020 0.28 9.26
2/9/2020 0.13 9.39
2/10/2020 0.03 9.42
3/8/2020 0.05 9.47
3/10/2020 0.19 9.66
3/11/2020 0.02 9.68
3/12/2020 1.05 10.73
3/15/2020 0.35 11.08
3/17/2020 0.08 11.16
3/20/2020 0.16 11.32
3/23/2020 0.99 12.31
3/24/2020 0.01 12.32
4/6/2020 0.4 12.72
4/8/2020 0.4 13.12
4/9/2020 2.49 15.61
4/10/2020 0.32 15.93


0.40" of rain on 8 Apr. More on the way

Our rainfall total is up to 13.12" as of Wednesday the 8th.  That's quite a nice amount for us. Rain continues this week - it's a cold storm, unusual for April, and the heater is on, mostly, while the rain falls though sometimes during interludes of sun the sliding door is wide open to the fantastic flower display in the back yard.