Sunday, May 24, 2015


Weather: High winds and rain late Monday, and again Thursday.

Ann Beardsley, has just published Backyard Weather Forecasting. It’s available from Amazon in paperback and electronic versions.

What’s blooming in the area: Persian yellow, Austrian copper and pink roses, pyracantha, snowball, silver lace vine, bearded iris, red hot poker, broad leaf yucca, peony, alfalfa, Oriental poppy, donkey spurge, golden spur columbine, blue flax, Jupiter’s beard, Shasta daisy. Roses of Sharon, the last of the frost tender shrubs, are leafing.

Beyond the walls and fences: Tamarix, alfilerillo, tumble mustard, oxalis, bindweed, fern leaf globemallow, scurf pea, sweet sand verbena, goat’s beard, common and local dandelions, June, needle, rice, and cheat grasses.

In my yard: Beauty bush, vinca, pink evening primrose, California poppy, snow-in-summer, Bath pinks, Johnson’s Blue geranium, winecup mallow; began planting seeds.

Bedding plants: Sweet alyssum, pansy, snapdragon, marigold.

What’s blooming inside: Zonal geraniums, aptenia.

Animal sightings: Rabbit in the shade bed, small birds, bees in the beauty bush, ants. A man who works at San Juan Lakes told me the fish and fishermen have been very active the last three rainy weekends.

Weekly update: Rain, blessed rain, nothing’s so rare as real rain. If only it and the temperatures would coordinate. Instead, each time a group of plants started to flourish from the moisture, cold temperatures intervened, first to kill the fruit flowers, then to diminish the lilacs.

Snowballs escaped the carnage. They’ve had one of those seasons that sends you to the nursery. Only, as I mentioned in my post for 20 May 2007, the plants you buy may never be as wonderful as the ones you see that were planted sometime between 1950 and the late 1970s.

They probably will never get taller than the house nor produce so many flowering stems.

The drought has taken it’s toll on some like the one above where bare branches extend from the mound of white. People who pruned in dry years may have damaged their shrubs’ abilities to recover, at least for a few years.

But those who can tolerate the sprawling unpredictability of benign neglect have been rewarded this year.

The only problem with snowballs is they only look good in mass from a distance. If you get close, you discover there’s a reason they’re called Viburnum opulus sterilis. There are no reproductive organs in the center, just tiny residual tufts.

That’s probably another reason it’s hard to buy the wonderful old plants. They have to come from cuttings, and everything depends on the parent stock. Marketing experts for garden outlets believe their only market is small suburban, orderly patches, so those are the scions.

Photographs: All pictures taken in area on Wednesday, 20 May 2015.
1. Snowballs with trees.
2. Snowball between tall forsythia and under trees; the fence is more than 6' high.
3. Recently planted snowballs.
4. Specimen snowball that really is taller than the house; some drought damage visible.
5. Snowball that died back.
6. Snowball above a 3' wall.
7. Snowball flower in my yard.
8. Snowball growing between two apricot trees.

9. Snowball growing under trees; chain link fence is 6' high.

No comments: