Sunday, October 17, 2010

Love the Rain, even though it's just a drizzle right now...

Fall in Southern California is a tricky proposition. Some years, we have a full-on manifestation of "Indian Summer" accompanied by itinerant Santa Ana winds, and other years it's just a guessing game. Well, this year's been a guessing game. From an unseasonably cool summer, to a couple days of record-breaking fall heat, back to cool, drizzly weather. And by all predictions, we're supposed to be in a La Nina pattern this year (i.e., cool but dry). 

It's been foggy and damp the past two days and the forecast is for more precipitation through next Thursday. 

I can't remember ever breaking out a log until November-December, but, alas, we were cold enough today to flame a Duraflame today:

10/17/10 First log of the season.

10/17/10 Foggy all day.

10/17/10 Love the unseasonal misty rain here in SoCal. Are we in Ireland yet?

And the late season blooms never cease to amaze me:

10/17/10 Bush California Fuchsia (Zauschneria latifolia var. johnstonii). 

10/17/10 Seed pods of Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis). Just goes to show that beauty is not just in the blooms.

10/17/10 Raindrops on leaves of Desert Columbine (Aquilegia shockleyi).

10/17/10 Wolfberry/Baja Desert Thorn (Lycium brevipes). This one went drought deciduous last month but perked up with the recent precipitation.

10/17/10 Clockwise, left to right: 'Route 66' California Fuchsia (Zauschneria californica), Showy Penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis)-not in bloom, Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus), Konocti Manzanita (Arctostaphylos manzanita ssp. elegans). 

10/17/10 Another view of the vivid yellow blooms of Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) to the right. Left is Showy Penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis) and the dried, rusty inflorescences of St. Catherine's Lace (Eriogonum giganteum). 

10/17/10 'Sunset' Monkeyflower.

10/17/10 Fruits/hips of 'First Dawn,' California wild rose selection (Rosa californica). I dry these in the oven on low (200F) heat and then store them in jars. Chock full of Vitamin C and great for tea. 

10/17/10 Mexican Marigold (Tagetes lemmonii compactum). Not everyone loves the smell of this fall-flowering marigold, but I sure do. It's like the scent of marigold mixed with lemon & a hint of mint. Yum! This is a shorter version of Tagetes lemmonii (native to S. Arizona). It's supposedly not palatable to wabbits, but sadly not in my neck of the woods (damned bionic La Cresta bunnies), so I have to keep this one ensconced in chicken wire.

10/17/10 Common Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) in full fruit under our adolescent redwood tree. The berries look dewey fresh with our rainy weather today.

10/17/10 Meadow Rue (Thalictrum fendleri v. polycarpum). Coming back to life with more H2o and cooler temps.

10/17/10 Turpentine Brush (Haplopappus laricifolia 'Aguirre'). 

10/17/10 California Fuchsias (left to right: UC Hybrid, Ghostly Red) are still blooming. 

10/17/10 Left to right: 'Ian Bush' Manzanita, Jeffrey Pine, Arizona Cuypress, Tecate Cypress, Eldarica Pine, Allen Chickering Sage, Modoc Cypress.

10/17/10 'Barbara Karst' Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea buttiana).

10/17/10 Artemisia 'Powis Castle,' St. Catherine's Lace (Eriogonum giganteum), and 'Barbara Karst' Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea buttiana).

 10/17/10 'Santa Barbara' Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) against the backdrop of native California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum).

10/17/10 Mexican Blue Sage (Salvia chamaedryoides). 

10/17/10 Clockwise: 'Pink Cloud' Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri), Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha), Coulter's Pine (Pinus coulteri), Pointleaf Manzanita (Arctostaphylos pungens).

10/17/10 Hana, in a highly unmotivated mode.


  1. I'm celebrating the drizzle myself. I put out a few buckets to catch some roof runoff from the drizzle. Nothing really impressive--only about 1-2 inches in the bottoms of the buckets--but that's a little less water I'll have to worry about sprinkling on the plants. I'm glad to see your meadow rue coming back. It's one of my favorite creekside plants in the later winter and early spring.

  2. We were excited about the rain Sunday too. Only had .23 inches, but it was enough to give some thirsty plants a drink, wash off the dust and pollen, and was much more pleasant than last year's monster storm that ripped through in mid-October.

    I love the seed pods on that Cercis, what fabulous fall colors they have. That snowberry looks fabulous too. We have a lot of here, but the woodland creatures seem to snarf most of the berries, so the late season display of berries tends to be a bit sparse.

  3. James, I know what you mean. I love any amount of rain, no matter how sparse, 'cause watering the plants is no fun task (albeit good exercise). Meadow rue has such beautiful lacy foliage - like a more delicate-leaved columbine. I saw a magnificent display of these along a roadside seep going up Mt. Palomar a couple winters ago. They were HUGE, unlike the biddy little one I've got growing in my garden.

    Clare, it's really starting to feel like Fall these days. Yesterday, the drizzle here evolved into a full-fledged thunderstorm with tons of rain & some crazy lightning. How did you fare up in your area?

  4. I think that scene of mist reminded me of my week off work - I had great plans on taking landscape photos of the highlands and all I got was mist, fog and drizzle. Glad you've had some rain to help revitalize those lovely native plants of yours. We've got quite a lot of snowberries here too - our council seem to like planting them in the parks.

  5. Rosie, I can just picture your highlands shrouded in mist, fog and drizzle - it's the kind of landscape that I'm actually quite enamored of!