We hope you have enjoyed the SRGC Forum. You can make a Paypal donation to the SRGC by clicking the above button

Author Topic: March 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere  (Read 3490 times)

Robert

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4820
  • Country: us
  • All text and photos © Robert Barnard
March 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« on: March 01, 2023, 08:12:30 PM »


Sacramento, California

Today, 1 March, dawned clear with a strong, bitter cold north wind. The previous 7 days have been very cold and rainy with low elevation snow levels in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Much of the month of February has been very cold. Temperatures during February averaged 3.58 F (1.99 C) below the 30-year average. The weather we experienced in February is more typical of what we experienced 40 years ago, however striking climatic changes continue to take place and the rate of change appears to be accelerating in our region.



At 1,500 feet (457 meters) elevation our Placerville property received a light dusting of snow.



To put things in perspective, the last significant snowfall at our Placerville property was in December 2009 when 8 inches (20.32 cm) of snow fell in one night. December 1990 was extremely cold, when on 22 December the temperature fell to 8 F (-13.3 C) and daytime high temperatures hovered around 32 F (0 C) for about 4 days. Another typical weather event was the 1 April snowstorm when 3.25” (8.26 cm) of snow fell. During this event, snow levels dropped to < 1,000 feet (305 meters). Although our current weather has been cold with low snow levels, we have not experienced extreme weather, which was fairly common 30 to 40 years ago.

[Jasmin]:  It is interesting how the once-normal weather is now considered extreme.  Robert and I are among the few old enough to remember what it was like.  I can remember snow events in Sacramento.  One time I was ill, and my mother put the snow in a bowl for me to play with.  The other times, I remember the crunch of the white powder under my feet, and marveling at the visual and auditory experience.  The 2009 snow in Placerville was a lovely respite on the farm—Robert and I played in the snow as if we were children.



Just up the road from our Placerville property at 3,000 feet (914 meters) 2.5 feet (0.76 meters) of snow is currently on the ground. At 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) 33.55 inches (0.822 meters) of snow is on the ground. There have been 62 snow cover days to date and this number is rising. I have not consistently seen this amount of snow at these locations since the 1960’s and 1970’s.



Many of our early blooming fruit and flowering trees are in bloom now. We had a hard freeze warning last night, however the forecasted freezing temperatures did not materialize. Magnolia stellata is pictured above.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4820
  • Country: us
  • All text and photos © Robert Barnard
Re: March 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2023, 08:15:56 PM »


A hard freeze warning has been issued for tomorrow morning, 2 March. If the wind dies down there will indeed be a very hard freeze. This will impact our early blooming fruit trees such as our Pluot, pictured, which is in full bloom. The open Magnolia flowers will also be frosted and turn brown. Up at our Placerville property most of the plants and fruit trees are still dormant and will not be impacted by extremely low minimum temperatures.



In our Sacramento garden hardy native plants such as Arctostaphylos densiflora ‘Howard McMinn’ (pictured) will not be impacted by extremely cold minimum temperatures and will continue to bloom and look good.



Nemophila maculata is a high elevation annual species commonly seen in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Frost will not impact these plants, however the stormy weather did tatter many of the open flowers. Many more flowers will be opening in the weeks ahead, so nothing will be lost. As a side note, Nemophila maculata now seeds around our garden freely. Unless I am specifically breeding for some attributes, there is no need to sow seeds each season.

[Jasmin]:  The open flowers were such a delightful surprise yesterday in midst of the drenching storm.  So many garden pathways were quite flooded, some with up to 5 cm water, and we had to pick our way around.  Detours like this are daunting, since it can be hard to remember where something lies dormant under the ground, and we do not want to step there; yet detours can lead to pleasant surprises, such as realizing something lovely is showing itself despite the weather.



Most of my efforts are focus on cultivating, and breeding our local native plant species. We have plenty of interesting plants to work with. It is very exciting as I have a vast genome within each species to work with. Currently, the F2 generation Diplacus douglasii seedlings (pictured) are coming into bloom. The tiny plants and flowers weathered the storms without any special attention or protection. Breeding resilient plants capable of thriving in a world of ever increasing extreme environmental stress is an important and stimulating objective in our garden.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2023, 08:20:57 PM by Robert »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4820
  • Country: us
  • All text and photos © Robert Barnard
Re: March 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2023, 09:41:11 PM »


Sacramento
4 March 2023

There have been a few rainless days between storms and many of the Erythroniums are coming into bloom in our garden.



The Deer Valley forms of Erythronium multiscapideum are especially floriferous. In addition, many specimens form very tight clumps, with most of the axillary bulbs producing flowers. As one can see from the photographs, they make very fine plants. My seed accessions came from soils derived from gabbro and serpentine bedrock at an elevation of 1,200 feet (366 meters). Numerous rock outcroppings can be seen in this area. Pine Hill, the highest point in this area, is comprised chiefly of gabbro. Many rare endemic plant species are found on Pine Hill and in adjacent chaparral plant communities.



Most of the Erythronium multiscapideum found in this area are found in chaparral plant communities dominated by White Leaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida, and Chamise, Adenostoma fasciculatum, with widely scattered stands of California Gray Pine, Pinus sabiniana. The Erythroniums are generally found growing in the shade of the Manzanita where there is little competition from other plant species. Wyethia reticulata is an exception. I often find this species growing in close proximity to the Erythroniums.



Many of the Sweetwater forms of Erythronium multiscapideum spread rapidly but produce very few flowers. This colony in our Sacramento garden are from a year 2000 seed accession at 500 feet (152) elevation where the soils are derived from gabbro and occasionally Calaveras Complex slates. These plants, too, are found growing mostly under White Leaf Manzanita and occasionally Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizenii.

The Erythronium colonies in this area are huge, comprising millions of plants. Many plants colonies appear to be clones that have swelled to immense size over a great deal of time. During their blooming season I have observed very few flowers. At one time I hypothesized that the shade of the Manzanitas might be inhibiting their ability the bloom well. About 15 years ago, a firebreak was cut through the area. The tiny Erythronium were now exposed to full sun. The plants persisted and thrived; however they also continued to produce very few flowers.

From our seed accessions there has been some variation in their propensity to bloom. Some clones bloom sparsely but consistently. Other clones have never bloomed in the 20 plus years that I have been growing them.



Erythronium oregonum is quite different from Erythronium multiscapideum. First, they do not have the propensity to spread like Erythronium multiscapideum. The molting of the foliage is quite striking and the flowers generally are of a pale yellow shade. Our plants always bloom a bit later than Erythronium multiscapideum, however we have limited genetic material at this time to make a good evaluation of the capabilities of this species in our climate.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4820
  • Country: us
  • All text and photos © Robert Barnard
Re: March 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2023, 09:42:39 PM »


This tub full of plants is a happy accident. I originally planted it out to Greggii Tulips and some plants of Bianca Riccia Endive, part of a seed crop of this variety. Many volunteer plants of Collinsia heterophylla, Collinsia sparsiflora var. collina, and Claytonia perfoliata ssp. perfoliata germinated and have grown well. This will make a very interesting display when they all bloom later in the season.

[Jasmin]:  During the short pauses in the weather we have continued with our front garden project; although this has entailed more clean-up to prepare areas for their reconfiguration.  There were a large number of red bricks that I once used to border the front, and now enjoy their absence.  These are now stacked tidily on the side of the house until we decide their fate and location for storage.  I still have a broken plate with a floral pattern at the side of the house.  Some people have used such broken pottery in their gardens, but I do not think this is what we would like.  Perhaps I will clean it and place it with a “free” sign, for someone so inclined to mosaics and such garden décor.
     There was also a large amount of leaves blown from the storms that just needed relocation to the compost.

     This morning, before the rains, we began digging out the weedier Crocosmia.  This came into the garden how many of us fall into such lovely thugs:  Someone dear to us shares a portion from their bounty!  At one time, the cut garden I had here mostly was flowers that I obtained from people I knew, or examples of favorite flowers of loved ones, my way of thinking of them every time I gardened:  roses were for Aunt Sue, daisies of mörmör, various Japanese plants from Eiko-san who was like a second mother, some other things from “Grandma” Canson who lived across the street, and these Crocosmia from a lovely, petite neighbor lady who always was joyful and lively. 
     As much as I have such a strong vision of where we are going with the garden, and am excited about this, it was still surprisingly emotional digging up these things that we all know are never going to be ever gone!  All these people and their love are in my heart, plants or not.  Their flowers will always come up, because those bulbs and rhizomes are stubborn and just blast through and around any plans you might have for their demise. 
     It is the emotional experience that is most surprising, as I dig these strings of bulbs like necklaces and potatoes and re-experience being with these people—hearing their laughter and voices, seeing their faces and manners.  Gardening in these moments is extra-dimensional--beyond the smells of the air and soils, the feel of the cold wind as the storm comes, the clay in the fingers, the digging fork prying into the mass.  It enters that sacred space approaching the “Still, small voice” of the Divine.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Maggi Young

  • Forum Dogsbody
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 44720
  • Country: scotland
  • "There's often a clue"
    • International Rock Gardener e-magazine
Re: March 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2023, 09:57:13 PM »
Quote
  This morning, before the rains, we began digging out the weedier Crocosmia.  This came into the garden how many of us fall into such lovely thugs:  Someone dear to us shares a portion from their bounty!  At one time, the cut garden I had here mostly was flowers that I obtained from people I knew, or examples of favorite flowers of loved ones, my way of thinking of them every time I gardened:  roses were for Aunt Sue, daisies of mörmör, various Japanese plants from Eiko-san who was like a second mother, some other things from “Grandma” Canson who lived across the street, and these Crocosmia from a lovely, petite neighbor lady who always was joyful and lively.
     As much as I have such a strong vision of where we are going with the garden, and am excited about this, it was still surprisingly emotional digging up these things that we all know are never going to be ever gone!  All these people and their love are in my heart, plants or not.  Their flowers will always come up, because those bulbs and rhizomes are stubborn and just blast through and around any plans you might have for their demise.
     It is the emotional experience that is most surprising, as I dig these strings of bulbs like necklaces and potatoes and re-experience being with these people—hearing their laughter and voices, seeing their faces and manners.  Gardening in these moments is extra-dimensional--beyond the smells of the air and soils, the feel of the cold wind as the storm comes, the clay in the fingers, the digging fork prying into the mass.  It enters that sacred space approaching the “Still, small voice” of the Divine.

 Oh Jasmin, what a lovely description of how plants affect us for all sorts of reasons that are little to do the the plants themsleves. Well said!
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

MarcR

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 469
  • Country: us
Re: March 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2023, 01:41:42 AM »
Robert,

We grow many of the same species.  As I mentioned on another thread, you seem to be about 4-5 weeks ahead of me.  When yours are in flower, mine are in bud or just emerging.
Many of my Galanthus, Eranthis, and Cyclamen are just beginning to open. My Magnolias and early Camelias, Arctostaphylos, and Arbutus are in bud and showing promise.
I have 7 species of Erica in bloom; 3 of which are South African. I have a few Babianas, Ferrarias, and unprotected Moraeas ; ans some South African Mimulus and Jamesbritania in bloom.
My Forsythias and Laburnum seem to be almost ready to open.
My Hepaticas are just beginning to emerge.
We had 26" (57 cm) of snow last Wednesday. Most of it is gone now and almost all my blooming plants were unaffected.
Marc Rosenblum

Falls City, OR USA

I am in USDA zone 8b where temperatures almost never fall below 15F -9.4C.  Rainfall 50" 110 cm + but none  June-September.  We seldom get snow; but when it comes we get 30" overnight. Soil is sandy loam with a lot of humus. 
Oregon- where Dallas is NNW of Phoenix

Robert

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4820
  • Country: us
  • All text and photos © Robert Barnard
Re: March 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2023, 07:24:55 PM »
Hi Marc,

For the winter-spring seasons we do seem to have many similarities in the range of plant species that we can grow in our gardens. Most likely the range of plants diverges significantly when the extreme heat of July, August, and September arrives in our region. Our extreme heat and dryness (as a measurement of the vapor pressure deficit) excludes many of the plant species you enjoy in Oregon.

The closest climatic zone in our area that might be somewhat similar to your climate in the Willamette Valley of Oregon is found in the 3,000 to 4,000 foot (914 to 1,219 meters) elevation range in the Transition Zone of the Sierra Nevada Mountains about 15 miles, plus or minus, up the road from our Placerville property. Likely, there is a large difference in the number of snow cover days between the two regions. Currently, there have been 35 snow cover days this season at 3,000 feet and 66 snow cover days at 4,000 feet. Snow cover has a profound impact on both managed (agriculture, gardening) and unmanaged (wild habitats) ecosystems. Aridity (as measured as vapor pressure deficit) is probably another major difference between the two regions.

[Jasmin]:  I am always amazed at what actually survives despite the weather.  Last night it rained hard, a sheet of rain more like a power wash.  The wind was strong enough to rattle some cinder blocks we placed up against the aviary in an effort to further secure the greenhouse plastic we have linked to the aviary wire.

This morning opened bright and sunny, but cumulus clouds are building and reminding us to pay attention; the sun is just a pause.  All the storms left the compost area looking beleaguered and sloppy, collapsed and cascading into some dormant salvias and native roses.  The ground was too thick and muddy to even contemplate digging up the next cluster of weedy Crocosmia, so I spent some time re-piling the compost.  It was too soppy to use a rake, shovel, or digging fork, so I did my most successful method, being a human claw crane excavator—scooping armfuls of heavy, mucky leaves and reestablishing them at the top of their pile.  I wish I could say I am impressive, with great muscles; however, the job got done, and the salvias and roses thank me.



Pseudotrillium rivale appears to be a common easy-to-grow species in the Northwestern portion of North America and Northern Europe. Here in Sacramento its ability to thrive is a bit surprising. Not only do the plants thrive, they set viable seed, and seed themselves around our garden without any help on our part. The fact that they go dormant before the big heat of summer certainly helps their survival.

Other California native Trillium species have not been easy in our garden. Species such as Trillium angustipetalum survive from year-to-year but never bloom. Xenobiotics in the air and water might be an issue. In addition, inadequate vernalization and the near neutral pH of our soil might present issues too. None of this has been determined yet.

There is plenty to keep me busy locally right here in Sacramento.

I am hoping that this discussion will help to partially put our gardening situation in perspective compared to those that garden in the Pacific Northwest of North America and Northern Europe. Needless to say, aridity and extreme summertime heat are major climatic issues that we need to contend with here in Sacramento, California.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

MarcR

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 469
  • Country: us
Re: March 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2023, 04:17:12 AM »
Robert,

I lived in Daly City 2.5 blocks from San Francisco from 1968-2003. During that time I made frequent trips to Sacramento in support of my daughter's 4-H projects. As I remember, Sacramento, and the lower Sacramento Valley id not get the intense heat of the San Joaquin  Valley. Is this intense heat, you speak of, somewhat new?
Marc Rosenblum

Falls City, OR USA

I am in USDA zone 8b where temperatures almost never fall below 15F -9.4C.  Rainfall 50" 110 cm + but none  June-September.  We seldom get snow; but when it comes we get 30" overnight. Soil is sandy loam with a lot of humus. 
Oregon- where Dallas is NNW of Phoenix

Robert

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4820
  • Country: us
  • All text and photos © Robert Barnard
Re: March 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2023, 09:08:09 PM »
Marc,

The same general summertime high temperature gradient for California’s Central Valley still occurs. Summertime high temperatures in Stockton in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and Sacramento in the Southern Sacramento Valley are still moderated by marine air from the Delta region. Fresno and Bakersfield in the Southern San Joaquin Valley are still hot spots with extreme summertime high temperatures. Redding and Red Bluff in the Northern Sacramento Valley still experience extreme summertime high temperatures. Average summertime temperatures are rising in all regions of California’s Central Valley, however this rise in temperatures is slower in regions impacted by marine air from the Delta. I keep detailed climatic data for a cross-section of California from our home here in Sacramento (32 feet – 10 meters) to near the crest of the Crystal Range (8,600 feet – 2,621 meters) in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The summertime high temperature gradient in the metropolitan Sacramento area can be steep and seems to be increasing. The difference in the afternoon temperature between our Sacramento home near the Sacramento River can be 4 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit (2.2 to 3.9 C) cooler than temperatures 1 to 2 miles to the northeast. [Jasmin: Temperatures around our Sacramento home can be up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than in the central city or even some blocks distance away, near the City Cemetery]. Of course the opposite is true during the winter when nighttime low temperatures at our home can be 3 to 5 F (1.7 TO 2.8 C), or more, warmer than locations in rural areas to the east of our home. [Jasmin: Our location temperatures are very much moderated by the nearby Sacramento River. However, when it comes to winds, and storms, our location is in a border zone, and we must prepare for the worst as if we were in Yolo County (to the west), just on the other side of the Sacramento River, where wind speeds can gale heartily].

How continental and maritime air masses impact various elevations of the Crystal Range and the foothills approaching them is quite fascinating and has direct impacts on the plants and plant communities in each elevation zone. Each elevation/climatic zone responds differently depending on numerous variables. For example, where the peaks of the Crystal Range rise abruptly into the flow of the free atmosphere can have very dramatic impacts on temperatures, especially during the wintertime. Temperatures of the free atmosphere appear to more closely reflect the small general decline in global temperatures during the now ending 3 year La Niña teleconnection event. I am not precisely sure how the free atmosphere is interacting with the atmospheric boundary layer in this area, but it must have a dramatic impact at times and of course have a profound influence on the plants and plant communities in this area.

Climate and its impact on plants and plant communities in our area will always fascinate me. There is always something new to learn. Stay tuned. I find this has a great deal of relevance to gardening.

[Jasmin]:  This morning had a chill wind and storm clouds on the horizon, in a ring around us at all the higher elevations.  Nevertheless, we made good progress in just 40 minutes toward cleaning up prunings from the back garden.  Robert did the trimming; I just stacked and hunted for the sticks lying about in the growing mats of weedy Oxalis. 
     How quickly weeds grow in these conditions!  The once bare ground has this ‘overnight’ mat that catches and tangles with the fallen prunings, so you end up pulling a lot more than you might otherwise.  We have to do in back what we have begun in front, using rocks and making uplifted islands for areas where certain plants are, so when they are dormant we do not step on them, especially when the growth points are waking up and just beginning their march to the surface.  Why is it always the plants I really want to nurture that end up in these places where I just feel terrible and clumsy, some lumbering thug because I forgot I should not put my foot there?  Or maybe the bulb gets sliced by the shovel or digging fork? 
     I am certain we have all done it, unless you have photographic memory, or never, ever plant outside your original garden plan, the one in the memory from 20 or 30 years ago.  In our case, which garden plan would that be?  The number of garden plans and evolutions are like archaeological layers around here, and sometimes there are actually remnants to indicate their existence, but that is getting less and less as time goes on.  However, we are still amazed to find fragments of my kiddie swimming pool and marbles, or bits of the old ranch that was here—nails and posts from livestock paddocks, or plumbing and old hose fragments.  Some items still baffle me—where did this come from?  What was it?  At this rate, I might still find my marbles (in all senses, literal and figurative) in the garden when I am 100.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

MarcR

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 469
  • Country: us
Re: March 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2023, 10:02:43 AM »
Marc,

.....

How continental and maritime air masses impact various elevations of the Crystal Range and the foothills approaching them is quite fascinating and has direct impacts on the plants and plant communities in each elevation zone. Each elevation/climatic zone responds differently depending on numerous variables. For example, where the peaks of the Crystal Range rise abruptly into the flow of the free atmosphere can have very dramatic impacts on temperatures, especially during the wintertime. Temperatures of the free atmosphere appear to more closely reflect the small general decline in global temperatures during the now ending 3 year La Niña teleconnection event. I am not precisely sure how the free atmosphere is interacting with the atmospheric boundary layer in this area, but it must have a dramatic impact at times and of course have a profound influence on the plants and plant communities in this area.

Climate and its impact on plants and plant communities in our area will always fascinate me. There is always something new to learn. Stay tuned. I find this has a great deal of relevance to gardening.
.....

Robert,

I can understand your fascination with the Crystal Range.  Being in the Desolation Wilderness, the plant communities will be far less influenced by human activity than other plant communities might be. [especially with the traffic of southwest Lake Tahoe so close]
Marc Rosenblum

Falls City, OR USA

I am in USDA zone 8b where temperatures almost never fall below 15F -9.4C.  Rainfall 50" 110 cm + but none  June-September.  We seldom get snow; but when it comes we get 30" overnight. Soil is sandy loam with a lot of humus. 
Oregon- where Dallas is NNW of Phoenix

Ian Y

  • Bulb Despot
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2123
  • Country: scotland
  • Why grow one bulb when you can grow two:-))
    • Direct link to the Bulb Log SRGC
Re: March 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2023, 11:02:20 AM »
I am loving these informative posts I had a special interest in Robert's comments on Erythronium.

Now I have a question - where did Spring go then?

This is what we woke up to this morning in Aberdeen.

710966-0

710968-1

710970-2

710972-3

'Where have all the flowers gone?'
Ian Young, Aberdeen North East Scotland   - 
The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.
https://www.srgc.org.uk/logs/index.php?log=bulb

MarcR

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 469
  • Country: us
Re: March 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2023, 11:46:56 AM »
Ian,
I love your photography, and Roberts too. Your snow looks very much like; but, not as deep as the 27 inches 59 cm we got last Wednesday. Rain has washed most of it away; but, we still have some on the ground. As deep as it was, it did very little damage.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2023, 11:53:51 AM by MarcR »
Marc Rosenblum

Falls City, OR USA

I am in USDA zone 8b where temperatures almost never fall below 15F -9.4C.  Rainfall 50" 110 cm + but none  June-September.  We seldom get snow; but when it comes we get 30" overnight. Soil is sandy loam with a lot of humus. 
Oregon- where Dallas is NNW of Phoenix

Robert

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4820
  • Country: us
  • All text and photos © Robert Barnard
Re: March 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2023, 03:10:59 PM »
Ian,

Erythronium multiscapideum, our local low elevation species, is a beautiful and quite dynamic species, especially when observed and studied in detail. The low elevation forms of this species grow in very summertime xeric and hot habitats. Locally, the highest elevation forms of this species are now buried in over 36 inches (91.44 cm) of snow. I will have a great deal to write about this Life Zone in the future, as snow--or no snow--has a dramatic impact on the ecosystems. Over the last 23 years there have been seasons where there has been little or no snow at this elevation. Erythronium purpurascens is found in Placer County, our neighboring county to our north, at much higher elevations in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

I have been studying the Buckeye Flat/Rubicon forms of Erythronium multiscapeum for decades. Over the years this ecosystem became overgrown with native underbrush and Himalayan Blackberries (Rubus armeniacus) much to the detriment of the Erythronium multiscapideum populations in the area. The area was in much need of a controlled burn to rejuvenate the whole forest ecosystem. Last summer a wildfire burned through this region. I have not been able to get into the area to examine the results. With out-of-control wildfires I generally fear the worst, especially now that climatic changes will vastly alter the surface energy budget of the pioneer plant communities that attempt to recolonize the area. The elevation zone is also a prime area for opportunistic non-native noxious/invasive species such as Cheatgrass, Bromus tectorum. In general, Erythronium multiscapideum does not compete well in areas where there are dense stands of invasive annual grasses such as Cheatgrass. I have recorded a few exceptions, but these are very rare.

The Erythronium multiscapideum on our Placerville property have not emerged from the ground yet. So far this March temperatures have been running 6.61 F (3.67 C) below the 30-year average. We are wondering where spring is too! This type of weather was “normal” 30 to 40 years ago, but not now. If I take the “scenic” [given development] route home to Sacramento from our Placerville property I can easily stop and check on the Deer Valley and Sweetwater populations of Erythronium multiscapedium. Some photographs of the plants and their habitat could be very enlightening.


Marc,

My father built a cabin at Gerle Creek, near Loon Lake, back in the mid-1960’s. In addition, my bother helped construct the “Boy Scout” lodge at Loon Lake in the early 1960’s. I was too young to help; however I did spend a summer at the construction site. I spent many summers at our Gerle Creek cabin and spent a great deal of time exploring the western slope of the Crystal Range as well as both Desolation Valley and Rockbound Valley just to the east of the crest. The geology of the western slope of the Crystal Range is much more complex than that found in either Desolation Valley or Rockbound Valley. The underlying parent rock can profoundly influence the plant communities that grow on them. This and other factors create a situation were there is a much greater diversity of habitats and plant species on the western slope. One exception is the Gabbro pluton at the crest of the Crystal Range, just north of Rockbound Pass. This area can be reached fairly easily using the old Red Peak Stock Trail. I would like to explore this area more thoroughly, as Dr. Stebbins found several interesting Lewisia species near the crest to the south of Rockbound Pass. In the past, I have visited these high elevation sites to the south and there are indeed very fascinating alpine plants at these sites. As I remember, the parent rock at the southern site is granodiorite, very different from the gabbro to the north. There are many lifetimes of exploration and study that could be done in this region.


Where has the spring weather gone?

[Jasmin]:  For the taste of Spring, which was buried in snow; and for the Spring that never seems to come, buried under endless storms.  For years we have been so desperate for rain and snow, praying for its mercy, and now here it is all in lumps.]



It is still icy, snowy and cold at 3,500 feet in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.



If I had only one weather map to look at for forecasting and analysis it would be the 300 mb Northern Hemisphere map. This one is from 7 March 12 Z. Jasmin and I have some fun with this map and call it “The Brain”.

[Jasmin]:  Each day is a different “brain” scan.  This one shows how both here and Aberdeen received frigid storms.  These maps are helpful for seeing what might be coming our way, so we have ample time to prepare, and for understanding weather in other parts of the Northern Hemisphere.



This is another 7 March 12 Z 300 mb map of Europe. It is easy to see the arctic air coming into the UK.



This 7 March 12 Z map shows how the low pressure over southern British Columbia – Northern Washington is bringing polar air down over the eastern Pacific and then into California. This is resulting in our cold, wet weather with very low snow levels in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.



Here is another 850 mb, 7 March 12 Z map. Follow the arrows in the middle of the map as spring heads off to Alaska and beyond. Clearly spring has taken a wrong turn here in the northern hemisphere. Wet but more spring-like weather will be arriving shortly as the high-pressure system responsible for our current weather pattern is under cut and storms arrive from a more southerly direction. Now we will have to contend with flooding, as heavy warm rain falls on all the snow.

[Jasmin]:  We pray the reservoirs are not entirely full.  The last time this happened, the Oroville dam spillway ruptured, flooding parts of the city of Oroville and nearby communities and farmland.  With the snow amounts we currently have, if this rain manifest as predicted, an even larger swath will be devastated by flooding:  think an area such as what occurred in Pakistan just last year.  If the area were not so heavily populated and developed, the impact would be severe, but not overwhelming. 

How is it that despite a well-recorded history of our area’s climate and geology, we persist in these directions that lead inevitably to recurrent disasters?  In California, people complain about spending and act shocked that Nature is so “ill-mannered”, yet rebuild precisely where flooding and earthquakes are inevitable.  So far, the volcanoes are dormant, but Robert and I have lived here long enough to know they have not been “sleeping” long.  We think and act arrogantly as if we are invincible, mighty, and righteous; yet truly we are vulnerable, fragile, and in need of a good dose of humility.  What are we afraid of?  Would it really hurt us to step back, and create communities that lived gentler with Nature instead of forever striving to dominate what cannot be conquered?

These are ideas I think of as I go into the garden.  Do we insist on keeping a certain plant or plant species despite our climate, or do we move on?  I think we are finally maturing enough to discern when to move on.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

MarcR

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 469
  • Country: us
Re: March 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2023, 05:02:44 PM »
Robert,

I enjoy the way you tie geology, meteorology, and geography into your descriptions of plant habitats. I have some understanding of the terms, though I don't often use them.
Marc Rosenblum

Falls City, OR USA

I am in USDA zone 8b where temperatures almost never fall below 15F -9.4C.  Rainfall 50" 110 cm + but none  June-September.  We seldom get snow; but when it comes we get 30" overnight. Soil is sandy loam with a lot of humus. 
Oregon- where Dallas is NNW of Phoenix

Robert

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4820
  • Country: us
  • All text and photos © Robert Barnard
Re: March 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2023, 05:13:21 PM »
Placerville

17 Z, 8 March 2023



We are getting measurable snow at our Placerville, California property, elevation 1,500 feet (457 meters). This photograph is off the highway webcam near our property.



This photograph was taken from the cabin window on our property. The next storm to arrive on Thursday – with no end in sight for the next 2 weeks – will be warm. Warm rain on top of the snow pack will create a very dangerous situation with the potential for catastrophic flooding. The levee near our Sacramento home nearly failed when the spillway of Oroville Dam failed a few years back. A very similar weather pattern is now setting up. I hope that we do not need to evacuate our Sacramento home due to a catastrophic levee failure. We are preparing to leave quickly if necessary.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

 


Scottish Rock Garden Club is a Charity registered with Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR): SC000942
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal