Sunday, April 24, 2016

California Water

Weather: Winds with fickle temperatures: down to 29 on Wednesday, then no lower than 53 yesterday, and 33 this morning. Alfalfa, lawn and June grasses have greened since last rain, 4/16.

What’s blooming in the area: Flowering quince, red buds, lilac, first yellow Dutch iris, moss phlox, donkey spurge; spirea almost in bloom.

Beyond the walls and fences: Tansy and purple mustards, alfilerillo, western stickseed, fleabane and dandelions.

In my yard: Sand cherries, Siberian pea, grape hyacinth, lilies of the valley, vinca; privet berries dropping.

Inside: Zonal geraniums.

Animal sightings: Rabbits, small birds, ants.

All the yucca leaves have been chopped off since the last snow. If it was the ground squirrel, I imagine it just cut them all down to take back for future use. It’s the animal equivalent of clear cutting.

Weekly update: If it were only water, one might have a garden. Alas, it’s water in the air that matters as well as that in the ground.

When I was in California a couple weeks ago, I expected the lushness that comes from being near the ocean, and the exotic plants that thrive in the warmer climate. And so, I only looked with awe at seeing ferns growing in their natural habitat in the Armstrong Redwood state reserve.

I know my attempt to grow them in me wettest, shadiest bed is quixotic. They’re as alien here as the lilies in the valley in the top picture.

What I didn’t expect to see were the giant species of prickly pear.

This is dry land where cacti are supposed to do well. Ours fight off predators, and rarely bloom.

I was a bit surprised to see California poppies along the coast, since I thought they grew in drier, colder inland valleys. And the ones I saw were more specimens than great masses.

Mine do as well, those few years when they actually germinate.

The last time was 2013, the same year the prickly poppies bloomed. The wisteria hasn’t flourished in town since 2012.

Of course, the one growing in Luther Burbank’s old farm is better. It’s also probably a different species.

1. Lily of the valley in my yard, 24 April 2016.
2. Yucca that’s been attacked, probably by the ground squirrel, 24 April 2016.
3. Ferns in Armstrong Redwood state nature reserve, 7 April 2016.
4. Fern in the same bed as the lily of the valley, 16 May 2015, before it was eaten by the rabbit.
5. Prickly pear in neighborhood of my motel in Berkley, 9 April 2016.
6. Prickly pear in nearby field, 7 June 2013.
7. California poppy along the coast in Sonoma County, 7 April 2016.
8. California poppies in my yard, 28 June 2013.
9. Wisteria blooming in town, 13 April 2012.
10. Wisteria blooming at Luther Burbank farm, Sebastopol, 7 April 2016.

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