A rainy day garden: often a curse in the tropics, but a rare treat in Southern California. I can honestly tell you that I have never said, “Oh, darn. It’s going to rain” while I have had my garden here in Vista, California. If you do not live in a low-rainfall Mediterranean climate, you can not really understand why rain is such a celebrated event here for us fellow gardeners. To help my readers understand more, please reference the table below.
|CLIMATE||Vista, California||United States|
|Avg. July High||77.8||86.1|
|Avg. Jan. Low||45.9||22.6|
|Comfort Index (higher=better)||82||54|
The graph really helps drive home the reason why I love living in our “climatic wonderland” of Vista, California. It also helps explain why tourists flock here from around the world. Looking closely at the table above, two things need to be pointed out. 1) On average, there are 258 sunny days per year in Vista, California, while the average for the USA is 205 days. This means we have close to 20% more sunny days than the rest of the USA when averaged. 2) Average rainfall is 14.1 inches versus 39.2 inches for the USA. This means, on average in the USA, you get almost three times the amount of rain we do. That is a lot of sun and not a lot of rain for us here in Vista. So when the sky is dark and the rain is coming down, it really is a time to celebrate your Southern California rainy day garden.
In a continuing effort to show my affection towards the magical properties of rainwater, I thought I would post some closeups of various plants holding onto to raindrops. I don’t yet have a macro lens (hopefully a birthday present from the wife; hint, hint), so these pictures were all taken with my 24-70 mm lens.
First up really isn’t a close up. However, I had to post a photograph of crotons showing off their reds brilliantly under wet, cloudy lighting.
Aloe marlothii close to putting on a flowering show. The hill getting drenched in rain behind the Aloe marlothii is the garden of the late Mardy Darien.
Agave macroacantha ‘Blue Ribbon.’
Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop.’ All the rains have made this guy too happy. The usual dark purple coloration is being replaced with a lighter purple with a rosette that is fully opened up. Once the winter rains stop and summer heat arrives, Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ will darken again and shrink down some.
Aloe capitata flower.
Variegated leaf on a Bird Of Paradise (Stelitzia reginae).
Dypsis prestoniana loves all the rain we have been receiving this winter in Southern California.
Dudleya brittonii with emerging flower stalks.
The blue leaf of a Cycas thouarsii x cairnsiana.
The only water my Aloe pearsonii gets is water from the sky. So it is soaking in as much as it can get this winter.
Euphorbia obesa var symmetrica in a beautiful Chingwen Chen pot.
Aechmea ‘Alvarez’ has turned out to be a great outdoor bromeliad for Southern California. I love the colors in winter.
My new Skotak creation called Neoregelia ‘Cantankerous’ loves having its cup filled with rain water.
Same with my Neoregelia ‘Picasso’ that is in flower.
Hibiscus ‘Rum Runner’ showing off its winter colors.
Ficus dammaropsis opening a new leaf in the rain.
Fully opened Encephalartos whitelockii male cone.
Unknown Aechmea flower.
Bird of Paradise (Stelitzia reginae) flower.
Crassula clavata turning green from the smaller amounts of sun but greater increase in water that winter has brought it.
Nothing screams tropical like the rain bouncing off a big-leafed Anthurium.
I love taking pictures of aloe flowers after a rain. This is Aloe aculeata.
Agave vaombe flowers against a stormy background.
One of my Ti Plant (Cordyline fruticosa) leaves holding rain drops.
Many of the rocks in my garden show best when wet.
To close out this blog post I just had to show this photo of the Balinese Goddess “Dewi Sri” holding a camellia flower. My 8-year-old daughter places a flower in her hands almost every day. In winter it is usually camellias, and in spring through fall, it is hibiscus flowers. I will miss the days when my daughter outgrows the cute little things she does around my garden like this.
While that might be it for the pictures in this post, it certainly isn’t the last of the rains. I just read that we are expecting another pineapple express rain event next week. I haven’t had my irrigation on since early November. Looks like I will get through February without irrigation. At the very least. What a great year for rainy day garden lovers in Southern California.
Greg Stewart says
Great photos. I love doing the same thing around my garden in this rainy season we are having in So Cal. However, I’m not the photographer you are. Nor the Gardner for that matter. But nonetheless I enjoy it.
Len Geiger says
Thanks for reading Greg.
Great to hear your finally getting some real rain in SoCal. I imagine it’s too early to call it drought busting, but it does quicken the pulse when the garden responds so lovingly. Nice pics too Len.
As always, beautiful pictures of a beautiful garden. I always enjoy reading your posts, Len.
Len Geiger says
Thanks Ando. Hope all is well with you.