2021-04-05

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

2021-02-02

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
11/7/20200.240.24
12/28/20201.71.94
1/25/20210.242.18
1/29/20211.373.55

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