2017-02-10

2.81" of rain; season total 21.23"

2/7/17 2.81"

A banner year for rain, with 21.23" in my back yard so far.  As I write this (on 2/10, I'm not quite up to the moment in my reporting), more rain is falling.

If you are not from Southern California, you might not appreciate how beyond normal this is.  To put it in perspective, between 1944 and 2010 in Los Angeles, only 6 years had greater rainfall during the entire winter season than we have to date!   Interestingly, those 6 "high water marks" all occurred in water year 1977 or later, which seems to be a statistical anomaly that it's tempting to blame on climate change.

2017-02-04

0.56" rain; season total 18.42"

3 Feb 2017 0.53" the main storm
4 Feb 2017 0.03" overnight
That season total is a lot of rain for us!

More storms are rolling in right now.

2017-01-24

0.49" rain completes the last storm; 4.99" storm total; 17.86" season total

I mentioned previously that I had taken a rain gauge reading mid way through the last storm - the rain was so intense and prolonged that I thought it might overflow.  It turns out that we only accumulated 0.49" more.

22-Jan-17 0.49" (plus prior 4.5" measurement) = 4.99" for the storm system.

We're in a sunny trend now and for the next week at least, according to the weather report, so there will be plenty of green growing things in the yard.

4.99" of rain is the largest amount of rain that I've seen locally reported for this storm, which is unusual for my location.  Normally I measure less rain than nearby cities.

2017-01-23

4.5+" rain in recent storm; 17.37" season total

19 Jan 2017 0.87"
21 Jan 2017 2.6"
22 Jan 2017 4.5" rain..

...and the 22nd wasn't even over when I took that reading of 4.5".  I was concerned the rain gauge would overflow so I drained it mid-afternoon.

I don't have final figures, but I noted about another half inch on 22 Jan, which make the total for that storm about 5".  This seems to be a greatest amount of rain reported among our local cities including Long Beach which had flooding at only 4" of rain, which they reported as a record for one day's precipitation.

Sent from my iPhone at great expense

2017-01-20

Broken hoe

I like the design of this hoe.  I had a memory that it might be called a skiffle hoe, but I probably made that up.  "Scuffle hoe" actually returns search results using Google.  In any case, it does a far better job at weeding than a standard hoe due to the way the angle of the blade glides in the top layer of soil as opposed to digging down into it.


broken scuffle hoe with young California poppy
It's broken now after several years of service.  I'll be looking for a replacement since the rain has brought up all sorts of weeds and this is just the sort of tool to demolish them when they are young.  The one drawback of this hoe was that the spring steel of the blade wasn't sharpened and it didn't take an edge easily. The one I have resembles the "Luster Leaf WW100 Original Winged Weeder" which the ad copy claims is sharpened, but it's not. Nonetheless, the blunt edge worked well enough to break off weeds.  Other triangle and diamond-shaped hoes with a similar cutting angle also seem appealing so I might give those a try.  Those tend to look like they have an actual sharp edge. 

Alternative designs like a "hula hoe" aren't the right tool for me based on prior experience.

2017-01-18

Eat your heart out, Mexican feather grass!

Aristida purpurea 'Chino Hills' at RSABG with monolith in background.
Aristida purpurea 'Chino Hills' at RSABG
This is Chino Hills purple three awn. I think it's a bit strange to have a grass selection, don't the prolific seeds dilute the original selection after a few years? What do I know.
Aristida purpurea 'Chino Hills' at RSABG
San Marco growers notes "Originally collected by Dylan Hannon (RSABG) in Tonner Canyon (Chino Puente Hills-Orange County near LA County line)"

2017-01-17

Rain 1.16"; season total 9.40"

12 Jan 2017 1.16"

Quite a bit of rain, with more on the way.

Of course the news has been full of receding drought concerns.  A secondary news item that sometimes follows is that the drought is defined by surface water.  This is the most important caveat.

Ground water usage and replenishment are not well measured, tracked, or inventoried, and what you don't know you have you can't keep track of.  Measuring by ground level subsidence, we've kept withdrawals well ahead of replenishment for many years, a fact that is only now coming to light.

Sent from my iPhone at great expense

2017-01-16

Aesculus califonica (Buckeye) at RSABG

Here's an Aesculus Californica at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. This seems to be one of their favored trees, since I saw more than just the two in this blog post while wandering the trails on Jan 4. The one below was particularly striking from this angle with the agave in the foreground.


2017-01-15

Repetition in the color purple

Repetition is one of the fundamental building blocks of gardening, yet sometimes I find it hard to get right.

Here's a couple repetitions in the color purple that I happened to notice recently. In neither case do the purples exactly match, but that doesn't seem to matter for their impact, which I have to admit is better in person.  Perhaps this has to do with the color punch being small in the field of view when there in person versus dominant in the field of view in the photos.

The first photo is from RSABG.  You'll have to imagine the salvia when it's larger, but to my eyes there's a clear visual link between the butterfly garden ornament and the flowers that enhances both 
The second of photos below is from my back yard.

2017-01-11

"Normal" comments enabled again

I had some feedback that the Google comments that I had enabled were not optimum, so I've switched back to more normal comments that don't require a Google sign-in.

Rain 0.35"; season total 8.24"

11 Jan 2017 0.35"

This makes the season total 8.24" at my house.  I (and most of the state) are above average by all measures as you probably already know if you read the news. 

Sent from my iPhone at great expense

2017-01-10

Beautiful native grapes

Here's a beautiful way to plant native grapes that was brought home to me in stunning color while I visited Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens on Jan 4.  The juxtaposition of leaf colors in these native grape hybrids or cultivars takes this to a whole new level.