Monday, February 5, 2018

In a Vase on Monday: The no rain blues



Southern California is officially back in a drought status.  We've had a trivial amount of rain during what is normally our one and only rainy season and there's very little chance of more showing in the 90-day forecast.  Rain, or the lack of it, is a big deal for the reasons explained here.  Although flowers are still blooming thanks to regular irrigation, the situation has me singing the blues.

Flowers appearing on the remaining section of Ceanothus hedge in the backyard set the tone for this vase

The vase didn't come together as well as I'd hoped, as the sloppy backside attests

Top view, highlighting the pretty flushed backs of the Osteospermum petals

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase contains: noID Ceanothus, no ID Freesia, Pelargonium 'Lady Plymouth', Globularia x indubia, and Osteospermum '4D Silver'


In an effort to cheer myself up, I also cut several of the luminescent yellow bloom stalks of my succulent Aeoniums for the dining room table.

Aeonium flower stalks have a long vase life.  One broken stalk I placed in a small vase 2 weeks ago still looks as fresh as it did when I brought it inside.

I retrieved the stems of Leucadendron 'Blush' I used in one of last week's vases and plopped them into the back of this vase

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase contains: Aeonium arboreum, Abelia 'Kaleidoscope', Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold', Leucadendron salignum 'Blush', Correa 'Wyn's Wonder', and Fatsia japonica 'Camouflage'


The brightest spot in the water picture is that Northern California, from which much of our water flows, is not currently in drought.  No new water restrictions have been announced but Californians are being reminded that water conservation must be a way of life here.  Hopefully, the situation in Cape Town, South Africa will serve as a cautionary tale.

For vases not weighed down by environmental woes, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.




All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

38 comments:

  1. I am sorry to hear you are back in a drought with no relief....good to see you can put together such beautiful vases still! Both are gorgeous....we are back to snow and cold all month!

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    1. I wish I could arrange a heat exchange, Donna! Many plants here are altogether confused by the extended period of summer-like heat. The gardener is merely dismayed...

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  2. Interesting to read about your water situation, Kris. Where does your water actually come from - is it piped from northern California or do you have boreholes? Are there any restrictions on the quantity of water used for irrigation? There certainly are when there water shortages in parts of the UK. Your blues are well worth singing about today, especially those osteospermum which are so pretty

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    1. I had to look up the term "boreholes," Cathy! No, we don't have a well system here, although I do collect rainwater (when available!) in 3 barrels ranging in size from 50-gallons to 265-gallons. Most of our water is piped in through 2 aqueduct systems. We're heavily dependent on snow melt from northern and eastern California, although the majority of that water feeds the state's massive agricultural industry. Water use was restricted across the state in 2015 through early 2017 with cuts set by area as a percentage of the water used pre-drought in 2013. When the drought was declared "over" last year, most restrictions were lifted, although my area remained on a 10% reduction target vis-a-vis the 2013 levels. I cut my water use dramatically in 2015-2017 and continue to maintain my use well below the current prescribed levels but, if rain and snowfall levels in the north drop, I imagine restrictions will be tightened again.

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  3. Oh no, drought again. Dang. We were abnormally dry until we got quite ea bit of snow the past couple of days--but nothing like your situation. Wouldn't it be nice to have a decent stretch of "normal" temperatures and precipitation? Anyway, your vases are exceptional, as always. The color of the Aeonium flowers (chartreuse?) is one of my favorite colors! Combining it with moss green and dark maroon/burgundy (a complementary color(s) on the opposite side of the color wheel) makes for a delicious vision.

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    1. A couple of years of "normal" rain would be nice, Beth!
      Honestly, I was concerned when California lifted its drought-related water restrictions last year after a single year of heavier-than-usual rain. Part of this year's problem is due to a normal La Nina weather pattern but I'm afraid that nasty ridge of high pressure that prevents rain from moving in from the north is a more complicated phenomenon related to climate change.

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  4. The Fatsia japonica 'Camouflage' leaf is the perfect compliment to the Aeonium bloom. I can't imagine how defeating it must feel to be back in the drought. Glad you have some sunny blooms to cheer you up.

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    1. Another round of drought does feel like big old slap in the face, Loree. And it makes me all the madder about the federal government's inability to understand that global climate changes is a major factor in the weather extremes now being seen world-wide.

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  5. Drought so early in the year, yikes! Hope you get lots of rain soon. Meanwhile those arrangements are a source of cheer :)

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    1. Our winters determine what our water situation will be for the entire year. The level of the snowpack in Northern California and the levels of water in our various reservoirs are key determinants of drought.

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  6. Sorry about your water woes! Seems like some sort of cosmic joke that we're getting so much precipitation while you have none. You sing the blues beautifully and then turn around and perform a zippy bright number. Such a great range!

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    1. Mother Nature is a real comic, Peter! Actually, I don't blame Mother Nature - she's just responding to the pressures we thoughtless humans have imposed on her.

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  7. Oh it's sad to read that your part of the world is back in drought Kris :( It must be an ongoing concern and must make life extremely challenging for some people. A beautiful collection of shades of blue nevertheless and a cheering vase of sunshine too.

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    1. I'd hoped, perhaps foolishly, for a couple of years of "normal" rain, which would be approximately 15 inches in total for Los Angeles. The total for my area from October 1st (the official start of each "rain year") to date is just 1.27/inch, which is very bad, especially when your consider that any rain here between April and October 1st is unlikely.

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  8. Oh dear, sorry to hear that you are still struggling with drought. Your blue arrangement is lovely though, I just love blue flowers. The aeonium flower is beautiful I have never seen them in bloom.

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    1. I'd been eyeing my Echium handiense, which is just beginning to produce its lovely blue blooms, but it wasn't quite ready for prime time this week. Maybe next week...

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  9. Oh, dear, at least you don't live in Cape Town. I hear from the locals that there isn't the conservation mentality that there is in SoCal, which only adds to their problem.
    But at least you have your xerophytic garden to cheer you. I bet you are glad you converted the lawn years ago. You've embraced the drought problem the best you can!

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    1. SoCal varies a LOT in terms of the respect citizens give to water conservation, Eliza. We had residents that flaunted the guidelines at the height of the drought, willing to pay the extreme surcharges associated with doing so. Some, like a Rancho Santa Fe couple that reportedly used 14 MILLION gallons per year, were outed; however, I don't think the so-called "Wet Prince of Bel Air," who reportedly racked up 11 million gallons per year, was never publicly identified despite a full court press on the part of prominent journalists. My current community was tasked with a 36% water savings during the drought (a goal I surpassed but the community as a whole didn't reach) and our remaining 10% reduction goal (vis-a-vis 2013 usage rates) is an artifact of the slow response on the part of the population here. I have deep sympathy for the Cape Town residents who are trying to do the right thing in a very difficult situation while some of their neighbors blow off the situation.

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  10. Kris, the water situation is alarming. Somehow you've selected wonderful plants that thrive under your care but I know it must be a point of ongoing concern. The container used in the first vase is absolutely perfect for those flowers. So lovely!

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    1. Much as I've come to love succulents, Susie, I don't want a garden limited only to them. I'm trying not to read too much into the circumstances of a single year but the trend over the last several years is indeed alarming.

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  11. Well I must say , if we don't get some rain soon I wouldn't be surprised to see us sliding back into drought land-the last decent storm we had was the first week of January.

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    1. I'd tell you to check your long-term forecast (AccuWeather offers a 90-day projection) but consulting this has made me more than a little crazy and I don't want to throw you into the same boat, Kathy. Projections beyond a week or 10 days are volatile.

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  12. I am impressed that you have a 90 day forecast. The weather people here get twitchy if asked to forecast for anything longer than a week and most often they can’t even get the next 24 hours right.

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    1. The 90-day forecast changes constantly so consulting it is crazy-making, Jessica. Rain visible in one forecast is gone just days later, only to suddenly reappear and then disappear again. Unfortunately, the overall trend has been to push out the little rain shown in the forecast further and further into the future and reduce the amount shown for each event. Currently (or I should say the last time I checked 2 days ago), April showed the most rain, a whopping 0.25/inch. In a normal year, Los Angeles doesn't get any rain from May through September except when the odd tropical storm breaks through in late summer.

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  13. Kris, sorry to hear you're facing drought again, we haven't had rain in the last 2 weeks and everthing is dry and yellow but big storms are expected by friday. I hope that rain comes soon for your garden!

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    1. Rain seems much more reliable in your part of the world, MDN, than ours. Rain in summer period is a rare event here.

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  14. I have been reading about Capetown and believe water is going to be a limiting factor in land development and all gardens are going to be on reuse water someday. (Spent several years working with water utilities!) Love the blue vase and you have sold me on Osteospermum. They are selling it here as a winter flower!

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    1. We've got a rudimentary gray water system here running from our washing machine and I collect gray water from the shower and the kitchen. All of it goes to water the garden but it's still a drop in the bucket. (Sorry for the pun.)

      Osteospermums are usually sold as annuals here too but they will survive the summer. I hope they hang on for you as well, Amelia.

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  15. Looking at that map I can see why gray skies would be welcome. Love the blue flowers and blue container.

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    1. I keep wishing someone would figure out how to break down the nasty ridges of high pressure that keep the rain from reaching us in the southern part of the state but then asking people to play around with weather dynamics would probably be courting disaster.

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  16. Your drought conditions must be so worrying Kris. We are forecast rain for all of this week, so far nothing yesterday and although there is cloud today it is high an unlikely to give rain. What we have is COLD, icy cold. Your lovely bright vases brighten my day.

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    1. I hope you get a warm-up soon, Christina. Our marine layer was back this morning for the first time in quite awhile. The humidity level was up to 80%, which made a pleasant change after weeks of dry air. At least moisture won't be evaporating as quickly!

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  17. I love the bright Aeonium flowers. We can only grow them as houseplants and I've never seen one flower though they probably do if you look after them.
    The weather is certainly worrying, here also for different reasons. I wish people would take water conservation seriously as you obviously do but, as with many environmental issues, there is a great mix of opinions and measures which people are willing to take. It's probably just as well we can't mess with the weather, imagine what further damage we could do!

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    1. Yes, sadly, any weather moderator would undoubtedly be weaponized in our increasingly polarized world.

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  18. That was once thing that struck me when we lived in Irvine. The gardens where we lived were lush and flower filled and yet we dove just a few miles to the Irvine Ranch and the scene was nothing but brown grass. So I can appreciate your bounty of flowers for your Monday vases but yet hear what you say when you say you are in a drought. And yet not so far up the coast more rain than they wanted. It is also a bonus to have flowers that last for a long time in the vase. I imagine they are just lapping up that extra water. When I buy flowers I also like to chose ones that are long-lived. For the less expensive ones that is Alstroemeria.

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    1. I should perhaps create a record of the flowers that last best in a vase here, and those that hold up poorly too, although, after years of contributing to IaVoM, I probably carry a better record in my head than I realize.

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  19. Cape Town has been gifted two weeks water by Elgin (mostly fruit) farmers.It begins to look as if we will pull thru to winter rain. But - who knows if or how much that will be?
    The frightening bit for us is NEXT summer, if we start even lower.

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    1. I'm glad you've got at least a temporary fix for the immediate problem, Diana! I hope your authorities are more cautious than ours about any premature lifting of water restrictions. California's authorities succumbed to political pressure last year after a single year of good rain, just as the population was learning how to cope with what I suspect is our "new normal."

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