There was 0.31" of rain this weekend in my backyard, a needed respite from the drought, though by no means are we out of the woods yet.
The rain also brought a new burst of life to the front yard meadow, about which I expressed doubt last month whether the seeds would sprout. It turns out that I saw signs of life a couple weeks after I wrote that and they've been growing well since. In fact, I've been overdue to update the blog about my success. This weekend's rain really made them pop up - seemingly an inch overnight: I now have a nice green carpet of baby natives.
One problem: I can't identify them (why aren't there baby pictures for plants?). It looks like wild heliotrope (Phacelia Tanacetifolia) is one of the dominant plants at this time along with a plant with spade-shaped leaves (Clarkia unguiculata?). I don't see much yarrow at all, and grass seeds seem to have been the hardest to catch: I needed Juli's sharp eyes to spot one festuca rubra plant and I think I saw one more today. I haven't seen ANY signs of purple needle grass (Nasella pulchra) seedlings. Perhaps they come out later in the season. I look at it as a nice surprise waiting to happen. On a definite down side, the turf grass weeds were not all eradicated and today I found myself pulling spotted spurge and some turf grass babies from the mix. However, the rains made that easier too, softening up the soil for easy pulling.
Additionally, I pulled off something of a design coup in the backyard. I had a somewhat unimaginative linear grouping of a ceanothus, a coffeeberry, and a western redbud along the fence where once a bottle brush lived. I managed to save myself five months of staring at the fence through the bare redbud branches by planting a golden currant (ribes aureum)behind the redbud and next to the fence. I'll espalier it up the fence and it'll be my winter screen; the redbud my summer screen. With some douglas iris in front, it also somehow manages to breaks up the linear feeling of the three larger plants. I think I need another golden current.