Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Wednesday Vignette: Is that all there is?

Weather forecasts predicted that we might get one of the best rainstorms we've had this season today.  I heard the rain start in the wee hours of the morning and literally dreamed that I woke up to find that our rain total had soared to 10 inches.  However, when I got up it was sunny and the clouds were already moving on out.

View from the back patio

We got 0.34/inch from the system that moved through, bringing our current water year total (calculated from October 1st) to 3.3 inches.  As our rainy season generally ends in early April, there isn't much time left to catch up.  (Did you hear my sigh?)


This morning, the weather forecaster said that, while the main system has passed, there may still be showers at intervals into tomorrow morning.  The Weather Underground forecast shows that as well.  I hope that's the case.  Meanwhile, the air is fresh and clear, at least for now.

The oil refineries in the distance were already back to releasing pollutants into the air


The rain topped off my 50 and 160-gallon rainwater collection tanks.  The 265-gallon tank looks to be about three-quarters full.  In addition to the rain tanks, we have a rudimentary greywater system that's fed by our washing machine.  Installed by a prior owner, I often forget about it as it deposits rinse water to the back slope and I'm seldom on the back slope when it runs; however, last week my husband did a load of laundry (!) while I was down that way.  I heard a whoosh, followed by a stream of water and was initially alarmed before I realized exactly where it was coming from.

The system originally fed Yucca elephantipes that had attained tree grove-like proportions along the boundary line with a neighbor but, when we had those plants removed, we adjusted the flow somewhat.  I was pleased to see that it waters my Ceanothus arboreus, which sits well beyond the reach of our irrigation system. Unfortunately, it looks as though it's also prompted the resurrection of the Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri) we tried to remove last fall.

Water for the garden is a constant concern for me.  We're doing what we can to conserve, collect and reuse it but, in times of drought, I do get nervous about my garden's fate.

For more Wednesday Vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

26 comments:

  1. You've put so much time, love and money into your garden, I can understand your worry, Kris. It's a testament to your gardening skill that you have so much thriving on a mere 3" since October.

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    1. My fear is that our ability to irrigate will be restricted one day, which wouldn't be good, Eliza. Frankly, I thought California's then-governor was foolish in 2015 when he lifted the restrictions we previously had in place. I've tried to live within those guidelines anyway but I see a lot of water waste.

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  2. If I were you I would be a nervous wreck all the time. Here I just get nervous when we hit the dry season here. The dry season is becoming longer and longer unfortunately.

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    1. The climate pundits believe that California will have more extreme droughts interspersed with more extreme flooding as climate change progresses, Lisa. I really wish I could figure out where I could put a VERY big cistern to capture rainwater in the flood years.

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  3. Too dry, too wet - it's hard to adjust to either condition. I guess I didn't worry about it as much until I started gardening. May we all receive just what we need in all ways for all things this year.

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    1. Gardening does make one much more aware of annual and seasonal shifts. The severe drought here several years ago educated me - when I had only a tiny garden and worked full-time (and then some), I was much less aware of rain fluctuations.

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  4. Oh, I'm glad you got some rain. I hope there will be more. We had so much snow this winter--so we're in good shape now, entering the rainy season of spring and early summer. Hang in there!

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    1. We had a shower pass through an hour or two after I published this post, yielding another 0.04/inch of rain, Beth. There's another chance of a bit more between 10pm and midnight here. I'm grateful for what we get but still worried about the impact such low net rainfall will have as we get warmer again.

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  5. Hooray for rain - finally! Such a gorgeous view, but gah - those smokestacks.... So depressing. Did you catch Katie Porter's latest zinger captured on film. Honestly, I just love that woman. Check it out - it will make you feel better. https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton/status/1369676493723418630?s=20

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    1. Katie Porter is a jewel - and so much smarter than some smarmy corporate execs!

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  6. Sounds like we got a bit more rain up the coast. We had decent rain through the night but also the next day - tho nothing torrential. I'm intrigued by your gray water system. Does the runoff just soak into the ground - or does it run off your property?

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    1. NorCal generally gets much more rain than we do, Hans. Our "normal" annual level is just under 15 inches, almost all of which falls between late fall and early spring. The greywater pipe runs under the main section of the garden, emptying at the lower end of the steep back slope. When it reaches the flat section of that area near the property line, it pools, which benefits the Ceanothus and the Pittosporums just inside the property line. We didn't even know it was there until the massive Yucca elephantipes "grove" was removed. I suspect it may be one reason that Yucca grew and spread the way it did.

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  7. There is always water worry in warmer climates, but it seems like you do all you can to conserve collect and reuse. Also, your use of dry tolerant plants works in your favor.

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    1. Yes, I really embraced drought tolerant plants when we moved here. In addition to the now all-too-unpredictable rainfall, our soil is very sandy - great for drainage but not for moisture retention so plants that tolerate dry soil are essential. We added a lot of top soil after we removed our lawns (which accounted for about two-thirds of the garden when we moved in) and I've continued to regularly add mulch and other planting mix supplements.

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  8. Hello Kris,
    Your garden always looks so beautiful. Never noticed that you don´t have enough rain. The vieuw on your photo´s look beautiful. 20 years ago an engineer who worked for the watercompany told me that the in the coming decade´s water would be more valuable than oil and now I think he was right. In Holland we have a lot of rain in wintertime but the periodes of drought in summer are getting longer.
    Don´t worry to much enjoy your garden.
    Marijke

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    1. Coastal Southern California is truly a Mediterranean climate, Marijke, with winter wet and spring through summer dry conditions, except that our winters have become less and less wet!

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  9. Kris, we got rain off and on all day, and then it poured last night! Hope you got some more too. That is so cool that you're hooked up for grey water, nice touch by the previous owner!

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    1. It poured here last night too, Denise. That was a surprise as all the prior showers that passed through delivered rain in smaller amounts. Even my largest rain tank is now full and I also have 4 full plastic trugs to deposit elsewhere in the garden. I count the greywater system as a point in favor of a prior owner - it almost makes up for all the asparagus ferns presumably planted by the same prior owner.

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  10. I had to laugh at your (!) after the laundry statement... but how nice that you got to see where the water is going. Here's hoping more rain arrived throughout the day.

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    1. We got eight-tenths of an inch of rain from the storms that passed through this week, Loree. That's a major bounty by comparison to all but one of the prior storms. The garden is now well-soaked.

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    2. That must have been a blissful feeling, and now almost a distant memory.

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  11. I absolutely feel you on the climate/drought/restriction concerns...to the point that last year I stopped watering just to see how the garden might handle it. There were very few total losses, but some things suffered enough that I don't think they would make it through multiple years. On the central coast, so a kinder climate than yours for experimenting :)

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    1. Despite my emphasis on drought tolerant plants, I don't think my garden as it is now could survive on rainfall as low as we've had this year without irrigation. I'd have to replace a lot of them with more resilient succulents, and I suspect that even some of those would struggle. As it is, the Aeoniums I have in shaded areas don't go fully dormant during the summer months but, without the summer irrigation they receive, I suspect they'd be curled up in tight balls for months each year.

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  12. What a fine view and glad to hear you got that much needed rain.

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    1. We're enjoying that fresher, of also cooler, air after the rain.

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  13. I love that Peggy Lee song. We always long for what we haven't got, we have too much rain lately and you never get enough. I always enjoy seeing your skies.

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