Out in SoCal, we’re going through an amalgamation of natural phenomena. First were the fires… some of which are still going on because of the high winds. Which reminds me, we’ve had winds between 25-50 mph (40-80kph) intermittently for a couple weeks. The winds were great – they (along with the rain) helped to clear up our astoundingly high smog levels. Last year, Los Angeles had 21 smog free days. Although… the rain (after all the fires) has been leading to some landslides. Then, to top things off, we’ve had sudden and inexplicable freezes where there hadn’t been snow in ages. Just last week, Manhattan Beach saw people throwing snowballs at each other alongside the ocean. (They weren’t entirely snowballs… more like hail and ice and a dash of sand. Close enough?)
I’d say that nature is getting a little hectic out here, and we’re not helping it along. If there’s a gentler balance between forest fires, smog, high winds, rain, hail, snow, and landslides… Well, I wouldn’t mind it. I hear a good chunk of the Pacific Coast Highway wouldn’t mind it either.
The most frustrating thing is that I had entirely planned to go and enjoy all that desert snow over the weekend. Unfortunately, My SUV’s tires were getting a little low on pressure. I tried pressurizing them at a number of gas stations, only to discover that only 2 had working air pumps, and only 1 of those pumps had a working pressure gauge. Working, though not accurate. Darnit. Took me a few days to find a reliable pump, and by then the weekend was over.
Seems like this is a week to take it easy and relax at home.
The cress are starting to sprout.
I planted these as seeds a few weeks back, sowing them directly into the dirt. I gave them four little rows, along with a few other seeds that should sprout much later. After just a few weeks, they’ve grown up so much! There is always a chance that I’ve mixed up which side I put the basil and the cress on, so maybe this is actually basil instead. Right now this planter is a competition between three bundles of old seeds – basil, lavender, and cress. So far the cress are winning.
Picked up Polka Dot Plant
I’ve been wanting one of these plants for the longest time, but I haven’t seen any in good condition at the local plant stores. Recently I went to a lovely brick-walled plant shop, which was built into a sort of open-air, glass-lined alley. I found the most adorable little polka dot plant that absolutely had to go home with me. It started in a 4″ thin plastic pot and got some sort of sunburn almost right away. Once it started showing some new growth, it was time to move the plant into a new home.
Every few days, I turn it in the sun. The stems always end up reaching toward the light within a few hours – it’s such a responsive plant!
South Coast Botanic Garden’s sign blew over
We had some pretty tough winds over the last few weeks. It looks like those (possibly combined with the rains) managed to take out South Coast Botanic Garden’s sign. I’m hoping they get it fixed soon! New visitors might miss the turn for for the garden, and I don’t want anyone to miss out on those lovely plants. I’m sure it must have made one heck of a ruckus when it fell over, though I haven’t come across anyone that saw it happen in the moment. It’s my home-away-from-home, and I want their sign and the bush it’s in to be happy.
Picked up a Corkscrew Rush (Juncus effusus ‘spiralis’)
It sounds like this plant is more suited to be alongside running water, so I’m not sure a potted setup will be the best for it. It was raised in a tiny 1.5″ pot, so I moved it up to the old 4″ pot that the polka dot plants had first lived in. I’m hoping the short soil depth will let it drain properly, and that the plastic will retain water better than a terracotta pot would. Still got to do some reading up on how to raise these plants in pots!
Through a strange bit of coincidence, both my wife and I decided to name it Carrot-top. We were talking about the other named plants and couldn’t remember if we’d talked about a name for this one. We were both thinking furiously and blurted out this name. Still can’t remember if we’d named it something else, but this. is its name hereafter.
The Christmas tree is still alive
I had cut it down at a Christmas tree farm back in November. It’s been living in its stand, fully decorated, and somehow still alive in February. Some of the needles have been dropping, but only a surprising few. The needles still on the tree are slowly turning a more pale shade of green. And we’ve been noticing that the tree doesn’t drink as much water as it did at the beginning of the Christmas season. I’m starting to worry that if the trunk starts to shrivel, it may suddenly slip to the side and fall on something nearby.
Slightly more outside the garden…
On a short hike in some mountain & desert wilderness territory, I was treated to this wonderful view across the valley. I couldn’t quite see this from down in the dry riverbed where I’d started, but only ten minutes of hiking changed my view from walls to this vast expanse. There wasn’t any cell service (nor the accompanying GPS), and hadn’t been for about the 10+ off-road miles it took to reach this spot… so I’m still not completely sure where it was. The car had to be left on the far side of the wilderness marker – no motorized vehicles are allowed in a wilderness zone.
No vehicles, no cell service, no radio. It was heaven. I can’t wait to go back.