Contrary to popular belief, we do get a bit of wintry weather here. It is neither as cold nor as snowy as weather is in most other regions, but it gets sufficiently cool and rainy to let us know it is winter. In fact, here on the western slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains, we get the little bit of extra weather that does not quite get over the Summit into the Santa Clara Valley. Clouds must unload slightly in order to gain sufficient altitude.

There have been more storms so far this winter than there normally are, and this last week was particularly stormy. It is both a lot of fun, and a lot of work. Storms are innately wet, as well as messy. By the time we catch up from one storm, another arrives. The first few storms are something to be celebrated. The last few start to be rather bothersome.

1. Do you see the well kept shop buildings on the left and right? Neither do I. This is what I found when I got to work on Thursday morning after the electricity was put out by a wicked storm. The lights in the middle are those of a car out on the road. I managed to set up the coffee ‘machine’ to make coffee for the crew when the electricity came back on. I also put the leftover coffee that someone made late the previous night into a pitcher, so that if the electricity did not come back on in time for the crew to make fresh coffee, the first few to arrive could warm up the leftover coffee in the . . . . . . microwave. Okay, perhaps that was not such a good idea. The coffee was just swell cold.P90216

2. Many trees fell during the last few storms. Many more trees lost significant limbs. This unfortunate coast live oak is not as bad as it looks. Once the stub of the fractured limb is removed, it should be just fine. We try to identify potentially hazardous trees, and either work with them to make them less hazardous, or remove them completely. It is nonetheless impossible to predict all hazards. I would have not considered this particular subject to be hazardous prior to the damage seen here.P90216+

3. Artificial poinsettias were removed about a month after Christmas. They are no longer seasonal. Besides, this is the stormy season here, when these artificial poinsettias would be likely to get blown about the neighborhood if left out. If they were to survive the storms, they would fade in sunnier weather of spring. But hey; why must I justify their removal? They are tacky! They will stay hanging in the barn until after next Thanksgiving.P90216++

4. Pruning scraps from zonal geraniums that needed to be pruned back earlier in winter were just too tempting. Rather than discard them, I processed them into cuttings. I tried to give most of them away, but ultimately needed to plug some back into the landscape. They get plugged this time of year so that they get soaked by the rain as they disperse roots. Many went into situations where they will be without automated irrigation. If planted too late, they would just desiccate when the rain stops. These are in a neat row along the base of a stone wall separating a few roses from the roadway, so they will get a bit of water from the roses. So far, they ALL are doing well. Propagation can be such a bad habit.P90216+++

5. This was NOT my idea. I am none too keen on Japanese maples. Yet, this one works very nicely for the particular landscape it is in. I am impressed by the vibrant red color because this particular tree is somewhat sheltered and partly shaded. (Exposure to sunlight and cool wintry weather enhances color.) It looks great among the redwoods.P90216++++

6. No, I do NOT grow ANY of the snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis, or any of the hybrids. ‘Snowflakes’, Leucojum vernum, are only here because they naturalized on the riverbank, likely from seed or bulbs that washed in from a garden upriver. They are spreading quite nicely, and are pleased to bloom in this unirrigated spot after soaked by a few storms. I could have gotten a picture with more flowers in it, but most are already deteriorating. I got these as a closeup instead. I know they are not really snowdrops, but I can brag about them anyway.P90216+++++

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

18 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: After The Storm

    1. Thank you. I tend to propagate too many, and plug them into spots that would probably be best left bare. These in the picture are prettier than the big weedy sorts that I typically grow. They will stay lower and bloom more.


    1. I have not read it, but everyone else has. My niece really likes it, even though she grew up with horticulture. People are always fascinated by the ‘behavior’ of something that they perceive to be so static.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. That’s a hell of a colour for an Acer, it looks more like a good form of Cornus. We’re so near to being able to leave Pelargoniums out all year, it’s a nuisance having to bring them in for winter. It’d be great to be able to do cuttings like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Coral bark Japanese maples are not so normally so impressive here. I do not know what got into that one. I hope it does this annually. That would be rad. Since I do not know why it did it, I do not know how to get it to do it again. I know that it is in a cool spot, so perhaps that slight difference in temperature was enough to set it off. The zonal geraniums are just up and across the road a short distance away. It did not get cold enough to bother them. I typically grow the old weedy types, so I really do not know what to expect from these fancier cultivars. I did not expect that ‘all’ of the cuttings would survive. Cornus stolonifera is native in the riparian areas here, but does not color very well. I pollarded some last year as an option to removing them. (I would have preferred to coppice them, but I needed to leave short stumps a few feet high so that they would not get trampled.) A few of those who are more exposed colored a bit, but nothing very flashy.


  2. In an LA neighborhood, I once saw a geranium hedge. It was an amazing thing. I read about your storm, which sounded terrible. Always keep a large can of Sterno on hand and a little frame to put over it. I’ve made coffee and cooked any number of times without electricity that way. And those flowers remind me of spring beauties, but I think those are more upright in their blooms. They would definitely travel by water. I hope to prune my roses this weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The storm was not all that bad. Under the redwood, there is not much difference between moderate storms and bad storms. They all make a mess and put out the electricity somewhere about town. Many of us lack electricity, so do not notice when it is out until we come to work.

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  3. I once had friends who propagated geraniums, took them to Seattle in 1″ pots, and sold them for $1 each! At that time, it paid for the trip from Santa Barbara! Surprised me, because I thought of them as hedge plants!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are potted plants in Seattle, that need to be brought in or at least sheltered from the frost. It seems odd to those of us who think of them as something that just fills up space to keep the weeds out until more desirable plants get installed.


  4. Gorgeous red acer, how can you resist that? I am a compulsive propagater too, I do it not because I need new plants, but because I can. Hang on, I know it is still winter but what you have there is a summer Snowflake, Leucojum aestivum.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is sort of what I thought too, but could not get a positive identification. It blooms about now, and can get knocked down when the river comes up. I do not know anything about it. It just showed up there. I happen to like it, not only because it is happy to naturalize, but it gives me something to brag about when others show off their snowdrops.
      The maple is completely different. Even though we used to grow them at the farm, I dislike Japanese maples because as an arborist (outside of the farm) I work with so many that are unhappy in the Santa Clara Valley. They do not like the chaparral climate. Yet, they are very popular, and even overly popular. I have had landscape designers tell me that every good landscape contains Japanese maples. What a lame generalization!


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