After Rain


Looking better.  One week made a difference


Another week made more.  Latest status vs. where we began our "water year" (October 1st):

The garden is refreshingly soggy.  I've been staying out of garden beds so as not to compress moist soil, doing what I can from pathways and pavement.  Slowly continuing cleaning and finishing outdoor furniture with a no-VOC oil product.



Satisfying work.   

 It's been unusually cold (for here) with daytime highs not reaching 60F (15C) and night time lows around 40F (4c).  We're not used to it, so don't laugh.  It's been years since I've been out of my normal gardening uniform of light tee shirt and cotton shorts.  Long pants and a jacket to garden!  Just imagine that.

'Pink Gruss an Aachen' flowers survived the rain:

Finally planted the flat of Ruschia lineolata purchased as an experiment several months ago:

Planting it at the edge of the pavement is intended to help keep mulch off the pavement.  A hose bib means it will get occasional water.  We'll see how it holds up.

Not-easy things to do next.   Beautiful 'Tamora' rose, growing in the same spot for over 20 years, is now shaded out by Baby Oak.

Baby Oak, looking southeast: 

Baby Oak looking northwest:
The rose is a thicket of very prickly canes:
I hope to get a healthy section to replant elsewhere, in a sunny location.  So far I chopped the canes down to a few inches tall.  Digging will be the tough part.  

Then there are the two citrus trees on the west side slope.  We'll remove both.  The tangerine has been a dud.  The 'Valencia' orange, wonderful over the years, needs a lot more water on that slope than it would on flat ground.  In addition, picking oranges standing on the slope is increasingly treacherous.   I've decided to plant a new 'Valencia' in the veggie/cutting garden, where the 'Cara Cara' orange is growing so splendidly.  

Beloved kindly offered to help with the tangerine.

We both took out the top growth.  Beloved then dug out the stump 20 times faster than I could.  Bravo!   

Note:  soil not that soggy on the slope:

Replacements?  For the slope, a Hakea laurina  purchased last year awaits a place.  Perhaps a Ceanothus.  For the place shaded by Baby Oak, Hydrangea or Camellia  I'd love a Camellia after so long without one.  

A few more activities.  I lightly sheared 'Meerlo' lavender to make it more symmetrical.  Just a few inches here and there did the trick. It was fun. 

Not a fan of every shrub being sheared.  One or two here and there, however, offer a pleasing contrast amidst billowy and grassy shapes.  

The experiment cutting back Cuphea 'Vermillionaire' lightly in September and then fertilizing it has been a big success as far as winter goes.  I mistakenly thought they were more cold-sensitive than they are. 

In the past I cut them down nearly to the ground in October and they sat green but small and flowerless all winter.  This is better for the hummingbirds.   

Carefully observing the recently planted Pimelea.  There's new growth, though without looking carefully, it's not obvious.

Are those little flower buds forming below the tips of the stems??  We'll find out:
More small plant purchases.  Another Salvia apiana and another Rhodanthemum:

Finishing with some early morning light photos.  American Robin (early bird?) at the fountain, unfortunately out of focus:
Rising sun creates a stained glass effect with an Aeonium:
'Valencia' the rose, not the fruit:
Shadows cast by Grevillea 'Superb':
And Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' continues to look wonderous:
High wind warning for tonight, with gusts to 75mph.  I took a couple of shots of the Acacia baileyanas down the road, in case the wind destroys them.  High wind paired with rain-soften soil means falling trees.


  1. It makes me happy to see your rain. I love the view of the street with the oak tree. --Phillip

  2. That is wonderful news! And the plants look very happy. Your photos are always amazing, but everything looks so fresh and bright.

    1. A bit of a shock realizing how the poor plants spend so much of their lives dusty. Some no doubt evolved to do so, but not all of them.

  3. Good for you tackling your outdoor furniture! Mine could use an oil treatment too but that job hasn't risen to the top of my list and may not for some time. Kudos as well on the tree removals - that's got to be a tough job. Seeing the wonderful blooms on your 'Wilson's Wonder' made me sad as I think there's very little chance I'll get a show from either of mine this year. No wind showing in the forecast here - I hope yours isn't as bad as projected.

    1. Furniture looked so bad it was embarrassing. Strong motivation!

      Leucadendrons here really benefit from a cut back, so maybe in the longer term yours will be even better. Hope so, anyway.

      The wind was roaring last night, but it eased off considerably when the sun came up. More forecast for Thursday, sigh. At least fire danger low from all the precious wonderful rain.

  4. It is very encouraging to see the change in drought status for California. I bet everyone is quite relieved even if you aren't out of the woods quite yet.
    "Long pants and a jacket to garden!"... I don't need to imagine that, as it's My uniform till May :-D.
    Good job refinishing your outdoor furniture: they are looking fantastic.
    I love those early morning light photos, they are mesmerizing.

    1. Exactly. Major relief, even if the map still shows yellow and two shades of orange.

      Another thing to love about winter here--the sunny early mornings are particularly beautiful.

  5. "It's been years since I've been out of my normal gardening uniform of light tee shirt and cotton shorts."

    Reading that made me laugh so hard. I needed that. It was 35°F here in Davis this morning. Frost on the roofs.

    Your 'Meerlo' is stunning. So large and beautifully shaped!

    1. 35°F!! Yikes. We get down that low once or twice a winter, though on our hill the coldest air drains downward, which protects the plants from the chilliest air.

      'Meerlo' is an unexpectedly great plant. A delightful surprise.


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