Friday, July 24, 2015

Summer Rain and other Surprises

We've had quite a bit of rain in the last couple of days. Summer rain is not unheard of in southern California, usually due to chubascos coming up from Mexico like this one, Dolores. However, this was a record-breaking amount of rain. The additional water for our local reservoirs is welcome, and most plants will appreciate it. There are some plants that need a summer dormancy and don't like getting any water in summer. The Fremontodendrons and Ceanothus are examples. Another possible concern is that some plants (such as oaks) are very sensitive to soil pathogens that proliferate when they get a combination of warmth and moisture.  I don't know how my plants will react to this rain. Maybe they will be fine, or maybe it will kill them. Only time will tell. So far everything seems to be doing fine, great in fact.

I was concerned about a Humboldt Lily (Lilium humboldti possibly ssp. occellatum) that I bought in March. Even though it had three big flower buds on it, it was looking pretty dry. The leaves were dry 3/4 of the way up the stem. But I watered it a little and then we got the rain, and it bloomed.

Look at the size of those anthers. They're almost obscene.

A surprise of a different type was a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron that decided to hang out at our backyard pond one day. Probably roaming around between the lagoons one night and got a little lost. Since they are nocturnal, I think it was just looking for a quiet place to sleep for the day. It looked at the fish a lot but I never saw it catch any. It was gone the next morning.

A more typical pond visitor is this blue dragonfly. I'ts a Blue Dasher, identified by the yellow patch under its abdomen which is barely visible in this photo. I believe this is a male. I didn't see a female around, but hopefully he found one and they hooked up.

Another garden visitor was this Monarch resting on a Thick-leaf Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon crassifolium). The plant is not big enough to bloom yet, so like the Night Heron this guy must have been hanging out for awhile. Fine with me.

I expect some other plants to react to the rain by blooming. We'll see what happens.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog Don! Just happened upon it when I was searching for Arcto. Gland. crass. and found your rescue plant! Great to see the photo of the Humboldt. Man, this rain was incredible, and it sure is tweaking a few people's paradigms about summer watering of natives. Chaparral seems to be loving it, as is my garden!