The Day Before Rain

Sunny Gazanias, above
I shut the irrigation off around December 6th.  December was cold as Southern California winters go, we got a couple showery December days, and the generous 3.3" of rain which fell the first week of January carried the garden all the way to today.  Enough rain water in tubs, barrels, etc., collected from that generous storm to douse new plantings and the most arid spots in the garden all of January, but the garden got quite dry again this past few days.  All rain tubs and barrels are empty again.  
The early January rain stimulated Aloe blooms.  Aloe marlothii continues to develop.  I think it might have two candelabras, not just one.  That would be a first. 

At long last, rain is confidently predicted for tomorrow.  Beloved kindly agreed to move the little Magnolia stellata, and move or remove Rosa 'Jude the Obscure', depending upon the state of Jude's root system.  The day before a rain is the best time to transplant here.
Last year I moved the giant white squill, Drimia maritima.  It didn't rain, and I thought I'd killed the bulbs.  All three survived, thank goodness!  Here's two of them:
Magnolia is now where the splendor of its starry flowers will be easily enjoyed from the dining room window, should it survive its transplant.  
 Can't see it?  It's in the red circle. 
You may have noticed by the photos that it started to drizzle as we worked.  Rain is not predicted until tomorrow, but it started early.  This is a good sign. 

Above, Agave salmiana 'Medio Picta' got the Magnolia's old place. Jude sits exposed, to the left of the Agave. 

'Jude' came out--it can sit in the rain tomorrow until I examine the roots further and consider whether or not it should be moved or discarded.  It's 15 years old.  The root system was big.  Jude had grown some of his own roots, but there were also some Dr Huey rootstock roots thick as wrists.  The new Maireana sedifolia gets 'Jude's spot.  
Gratuitous Maireana sedifolia photo:

I also planted a few Gazanias, realizing afterwards that rabbits love eating them to the ground.  I'll have to count on the local coyotes for control.
  
Beloved also kindly removed Rosa 'Just Joey', a beautiful rose, but never a healthy plant--it was extensively root-galled, so that was that.  Also a 'Lady Emma Hamilton'--beautiful flower, good vigorously growing rose, terrible foliage.  Horrific foliage.  Another 'Lady Emma' remains, for now--one rose with egregious foliage is enough.  

Roses removed, need something new here.  Have always wanted a fountain here...
Also the sweet peas are emerging, planted late, but better than not planted at all.  The onion seedings are also in.  
Another Monarch caterpillar.  This one looks ready to cocoon.  The Asclepias plant is a mess;  I'm waiting for the caterpillar to finish so I can remove the plant.  New seedlings are already emerging.
 The puppies were alarmed and dismayed by the drizzle.  They are anti-water dogs.  Natasha won't even venture out onto wet concrete.  
No!  My feet might get clean!  Not that!
"Let us back inside!  Please!  Now!"
You got it, pups.  Much accomplished with Beloved's kind help, we--the plants and I--earnestly hope for rain tomorrow.  The pups would gladly do without it, and Beloved is okay either way.  
Fill 'er up!





Comments

  1. You've got drizzle already? Hope it doesn't fizzle.
    Milkweed has its own species of aphid. Plant it and they will come.
    How about a bird bath fountain? I see windows behind it. Could you sit there behind it? Best entertainment around.
    I remain still skeptical around the rain forecast; the radar shows NOTHING. But 'twas a great comfortable day to finish off all those chores before it might.

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    1. A little drizzle. It's supposed to rain! "They" said so!

      That milkweed seems to attract every bug there is! Bug city.

      Yes, I could sit and look out the window and watch the birds. I want something with the thin film of water running over a flat plane so the birds can make good use of it.

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    2. "They" were right! I'm sitting at the window looking at rain instead of birds. YAY

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  2. Fingers crossed for real rain tomorrow... I hope 'they' are right for a change!

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  3. Todays rain predicted here was a no show, but we had plenty this week. I hope yours arrives on schedule.How interesting climates are relative to roses. Lady Emma is one of my best foliage roses; no rust,no blackspot, fabulous dark stems.

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    1. Lady Emma--the new foliage is spectacular--as it ages--the worst. Next!

      I'm glad you got a lot this week, now hopefully out turn.

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  4. I'm glad you got some help in the garden so you can make good use of the rain. I spent my entire day transplanting, finally calling it quits when I could no longer see anything in the dark. The 3 variegated Agave americana pups I got from you are now congregated together in the side garden, where I hope they'll grow big and healthy. We got spit at at intervals from morning on but we've had no measurable rain as yet today; however, Weather Underground says 100% chance for tomorrow.

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    1. You are a hard-working lady! All your transplanting will produce excellent results, I am sure. Let's hope the weather cooperates and waters everything in.

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  5. Lots of work happening in your garden, I hope the drizzle turns into some good rain. Those puppies are so cute, I thought they would enjoy the rain and water. We seem to be turning into the tropics here, dreadful heat in the mornings then thunderstorms with a deluge of rain in the afternoon and evening. Flooding in some ares, high winds and hale stones have cause a lot of damage. After the storms high humidity. Nothing like some heavy rain to bring on new foliage and some buds, hoping my yellow crocosmia will flower this summer.
    A vertical fountain with a film of water would be beautiful.
    xoxoxo ♡

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    1. Samoyeds avoid water. In an Arctic climate, getting wet can be deadly.

      Strange weather for you, isn't it? At least you are getting rain--that is so important. I can do without high humidity/heat--it drains away all ambition. We had a bit of that kind of weather this summer--extremely unusual for us as well.

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  6. Wherever I go it rains. I have a birthday in January and every year it rains. Once we went all the way to South Africa for my birthday and guess what? They said they'd never had a summer like it.
    If California wants to pay my fare anytime I'm game..

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    1. For that kind of ability, two first class tickets would be entirely appropriate!

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  7. Glad you finally got some rain. We've had rain every 4-5 days in January it seems. Never a huge deluge, but the total for January 2016 was still 5.3 inches.

    Out of all your photos, the one that caught my attention the most was the one with your Dymondia margaretae. What a beautiful carpet of silvery green! We're going to replace the tiny patch of lawn in the backyard with dymondia. I guess it does take light foot traffic, right?

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    1. We got a little rain, much less than expected. Still, better than nothing.

      The Dymondia in my experience grows and looks best in loose, soft soil. The roots are thick and fleshy and have difficulty penetrating or surviving in compacted soil. The plants grows weaker and weaker the more the soil is compressed. I try to walk only on the stepping stones and step on the plants only when gardening and unable to reach by standing on the steppers. I would say it "takes" light traffic but only thrives with "occasional to rare". Still, I love it.

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  8. Looking good! You are off to a good start for spring : )

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    1. Thanks, Laurin. I hope so. We desperately need more rain than we have gotten so far. All we can do is keep hoping.

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  9. Here's a nice assessment that the odds still favor you all getting your rain in February and March: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3236

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    1. Thanks, Nell. Yesterday's storm was a dud here, though it seemed much better elsewhere in So Cal, and a whole week ahead of bright cloudless sun. I know we must be patient, but it's tough, tough!

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  10. Oh, man!...those Gazanias...be still my heart.

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    1. The plant version of sunshine.

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    2. They are! I saved the image and am using it as an onscreen color lift, since we've hit the damp, gloomy, white-and-grey pit of winter. Forecasts of the groundhog notwithstanding.

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