Thursday, December 29, 2016

Drought Status; Aloe Watch


We did it!  According to the latest weekly update of the California Drought Map, our immediate area is out of "Exceptional Drought".  Now, we're merely in "Extreme Drought". 

Collecting whatever we can in whatever we have

Local news reported December 2016 has been the rainiest month in Southern California in six years.  December's rainfall stands at 4.12";  add in October and November for a total 6.13" (156 mm) for the season.   Our official rain season runs from October 1 to September 30th.  The rainiest months are normally January, February, and March, with almost no rain falling from May through September, for a historic average yearly rainfall of around 14".  Southern California's rainfall total for 2011-2015 was just under 40" for an average of 8" per year.  

One phenomenon this month was the moist appearance of the soil.  Over the past five years our soil has been so dry that even an inch of rain was rapidly absorbed; after a rain, the soil still appeared dry.  This dark color and puddling is a surprise.

Aloe bloom has been slow compared to the past five drought years, years in which heat waves throughout the winter months seemed endless.  This year, the weather has been more "normal"--with cooler days and nights--days in the 60s F and nights in the 50s F. 
Waiting on A. vanbalenii: 
 Waiting on A. cameronii:

 A. hardyi coming along
A. thraskii peaks
 Will January, February, and March bring more good news?  We're all trying not to hope, lest we be disappointed again. 

13 comments:

  1. I was pouting because LA County is still in deep red. However when I looked up the figures i smiled, too. Total for the season so far is 6.44 and normal for the (whole) season is 16.82. The best part of it is how fantastic the plants look. They were dusted off and recovered their sprightliness very quickly.

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    1. Yes everything is a different (better) color! So much greener or bluer or simply cleaner. My largest Japanese Maple was barely hanging on this summer--I am hoping it will be able to recover.

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  2. Fingers crossed for you. That Aloe thraskii -- peaking indeed!

    After so many seasons of not enough winter rain, I'm thinking that if your garden gets a "normal" amount this year, with so many plants at an age where they're pretty established and ready to take off, you may be spending the planting season re-arranging. Not a bad problem to have! (and much cheaper, with far quicker results, than nursery shopping)

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    1. I was doing a little rearranging this week, actually. :)

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  3. "Trying not to hope" - that's it exactly! I was in the garden using some of my accumulated rainwater in anticipation of the next 2 storms and caught myself wondering if I should be using it so casually on the assumption that the barrels will be refilled by the weekend. I still haven't shaken off the El Nino fiasco.

    Your aloes already look fantastic but I look forward to seeing them in all their glory in future posts.

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    1. I'm pumping all the filled up tubs/barrels out to the most stressed plants--we are predicted to get something, over the next couple of days, at least. If not, well...December was still the wettest month in six years...

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  4. The bountiful weed display here is all I need to tell me we are in a normal winter rain pattern.Our normal is in the 25 to 30 range , depending on location in the valley, and we should make that if normal continues. In the meantime it's frost, frost, frost ! Your Aloes are fabulous.

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    1. If only the frost would kill off the weeds! Wouldn't that be awesome?

      Here I actually pulled out the blankets--we've been sleeping under sheets only with the windows open for the past three or four so-called "winters". The weather since October feels decidedly different--will the rain continue? We've not had a substantial heat wave since early November! But I suppress the hope, still.

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  5. I was giddily excited to carry an umbrella to work yesterday, like normal rainy winters past. Yes, this is the first time I've felt assured in quite a while that the garden has been truly saturated.

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    1. "Normal rainy winters": I remember those!

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  6. Yeah! It even rained on Phoenix last night and this afternoon.

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    1. Sounds like there will be desert wildflowers this spring!

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  7. Mom Nature took pity and sent rain to compensate for self-inflicted wounds at the ballot box.

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