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Author Topic: 2019 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California  (Read 39551 times)

Robert

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2019 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« on: January 04, 2019, 02:30:53 PM »


4 January 2019
1300 UTC

2019 got off to a good start. On 2 January I was able to visit the Cosumnes River Preserve in the Central Valley of California. The preserve is located about 25 miles (40 km) south of Sacramento, California. I met my friend Mort, who I see once or twice a year these days, at the preserve and we spent the afternoon hiking in some of the less visited portions of the preserve.

A goodly portion of the preserve is still agricultural land (now leased to rice farmers). During the winter months, the agricultural land is kept flooded to provide habitat for wildlife, predominantly migratory waterfowl (i.e. birds). Crowds of people arrive to view the birds. Both Mort and I dislike crowds so we set off to areas of the preserve where there were fewer people.

The local and migratory wildlife are the prime beneficiaries of this preserve. Some past efforts were made to restore some of the native flora. When we first started visiting the preserve decades ago many seedling Valley Oaks (Quercus lobata) were planted in some of the open fields. The smaller trees in the foreground of this photograph are the results of these initial restoration efforts. Unfortunately, they were planted in a straight-line grid, which is still very evident in some locations.



There are many wetlands and sloughs in the preserve.



Another view of one of the many wetlands.



There are also large expansive tracts of open land on the preserve. Sadly the land is still highly degraded from a native floristic perspective. 99% of the plants seen in this photograph are non-native invasive species.

Mort and I had a pleasant hike and we eventually parted ways back to our homes. Now that the holiday season is over, I can get back to my many projects. Today, I will be back on Peavine Ridge getting started with the next phase of one of my projects.

I also have to deal with the U.S. government shut down. At this phase, I am still dependent on government web sites as sources of specific real-time data.  As an example, I can still find data concerning direct beam solar radiation (W/m2), however wind shear profiles and soil temperature – soil moisture content data is currently unavailable. Currently, I use this data as an acceptable proxy until I can obtain something better (i.e. buy more data recording instruments).

In addition, now that the holidays are over I have time to better focus my attention to the hemispheric and synoptic weather patterns. At the best, I made some cursory looks at the evolving weather patterns during the holidays. There have been some very interesting weather developments over the past two weeks or so. As I can, I will report on some of the more noteworthy events and how they pertain to our local environment and our Sacramento garden.


« Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 02:38:28 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

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Re: 2019 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2019, 06:27:08 AM »


5 January 2019
0500 UTC

I indeed made the trip to Peavine Ridge on Friday, 4 January. It was an extremely mild day in the Sierra Nevada, 56 F (13.3 C). Until a day or two ago, we were finally having some cold winter-like weather in our region. This kept the few traces of snow on the ridge intact until the next storm arrives tomorrow. We certainly need the precipitation. As of 1 January we are running 54% of average at the El Dorado County farm. Some of the earlier storms reached our Sacramento home before they were shunted northeastward. Our Sacramento home has 89% of average precipitation as of 1 January.

The next in a series of storms is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. We will certainly get some precipitation, however exactly how much is a bit questionable in my mind. I have to admit that I am not completely impressed by the dynamics of the storms scheduled to arrive. Here on the eve of the first storms arrival, I still see some mixed signals. If the storm does not completely materialize 100% as expected, I will not be surprised. It will not be the first storm to disappoint this season. I will have another look in the morning and hope that my skepticism is unfounded.

Here are a few statics from the El Dorado County farm that may put our recent cold snap in perspective:
> The coldest night in December occurred on the 31st, 26 F (-3.3 C). The record low for this date is 21 F (-6.1 C), which occurred in 1990. The 30-year mean (1985 to 2015) for this date is 34.11 F (1.17 C), with a standard deviation of 8.845 F. 26 F is at the low end of the spectrum, but this temperature is certainly not unusual.
> The average temperature for December 2018 was 44.50 F (6.94 C). The 30-year mean for December is 44.16 F (6.76 C), almost exactly average.

It was nice to get some cold weather, however the cold snap was nothing out of the ordinary.



The, more or less, consistent lack of snow in recent years (except 2016-17 was a banner season) at this elevation on the ridge has me concerned, especially in the 2014 King Fire burn areas. The presence or absence of snow highly alters the surface reflectivity, or albedo, of open, burned over sites (such as the one pictured). Obviously, the absence of snow alters heat fluxes, and the surface energy balance (proportion of sensible heat, latent heat, and ground conduction), which in turn alters evapotranspiration rates, soil moisture content, spring runoff and the whole hydrosphere, biosphere. I am easily amused monitoring these things and there are a number of simple methods to measure some of the above variables.

In addition, I have my concerns at how easily invasive plant species have recolonized the burned over sites. With my initial plant surveys I have noted many native plant species recolonizing the burned over areas, however to date, the invasive species (especially grasses) are very dominant.



The natural regeneration of coniferous species is taking place. Pictured are a few Jeffrey Pine (Pinus jeffreyi) seedlings that germinated and grew last year.



The slash piles are numerous and unsightly. It is sad that no use could be found for this timber and it is just left to rot.



In appropriate areas (away from people), some dead timber is left standing. This provides habitat for wildlife such as woodpeckers and other avian species.
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

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Re: 2019 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2019, 06:29:46 AM »


Some of the smaller slash piles were torched. The black carbon will add long-term fertility to the soil by increasing the cat ion exchange capacity. I will continue to monitor the sites. It is very interesting that after 4 years there is still much bare, exposed mineral earth that has not been recolonized by plants.
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

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Re: 2019 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2019, 03:55:34 AM »
6 January 2019
0300 UTC

For me it was a very interesting weather day. Yesterday, I expressed my skepticism concerning the dynamics of the storm scheduled to arrive today. My subjective assessment was correct; the storm arrived with gusty winds, but very little precipitation in our part of California. Our gauge here at the farm registered 0.11 inches (2.79 mm). When I checked the Northern California rain totals, it was only the northern portion of the state, for the most part, that received notable amounts of precipitation. The next storm, scheduled for tomorrow, looks much more promising at this time. As stated in my last posting we need a goodly amount of precipitation just to get back to average to date. As I write this posting, we are receiving postfrontal showers created from orographic lift.  :)    8)

Anyone who knows me knows that I like doing puzzles. For some time now, I have expressed my frustration with long-range (out 192 hours) numerical weather forecast models. A recent project has been to incorporate concepts of the subjective long-range synoptic classification system developed by English climatologist Hubert Lamb with aspects of the numerical forecasting models. With the addition of satellite and radar imaging as well as knowledge of mesoscale and hemispheric patterns, I will have quite the puzzle to assemble. I am a strong believer in subjective WX analysis (i.e. the skills of a competent, experienced WX forecaster) and this is my solution.
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

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Re: 2019 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2019, 05:57:25 AM »
8 January 2019
0500 UTC



It was a delightful overcast day today. The day was made even better when I visited the canyon of the South Fork of the American River and Rock Creek.

The night before was very stormy and windy. In some location wind gusts were reported to near 50 mph. This storm was much more productive with precipitation, however the brunt of the precipitation fell to our north, south and west.

A few of the reported local 24-hour precipitation totals:
> Folsom 1.26 inches
> Ben Bolt 0.65 inches
> Pilot Hill 0.88 inches
> Sly Park 0.99 inches
> Pacific House 1.28 inches
Morattini Flat, 7,108 feet reported 2.42 inches liquid equivalent (all snow, most likely 2-3 feet).

Here at the farm we recorded 0.98 inches and 0.11 from the previous storm the day before. It would have been nice to receive more. Currently, our precipitation to date at the farm stands at 7.92 inches, which is 57% of average to date (7 January). To put our precipitation totals in perspective, we will need to receive 1.88 inches per week for the next 12 weeks to get back to average to date for 1 April. January, February, and March are our most productive precipitation months in this part of California, so obtaining or even exceeding average precipitation for the rainfall season is completely possible. Unfortunately, the 1.09 inches we received this week will leaves us far short of average if the trend continues.

At our Sacramento home, the precipitation totals are much different. I will be able to tally the amounts tomorrow, but I already know that we are now very close to average precipitation to date in Sacramento.

The good news is that more stormy weather appears to be on it way. The last look I had at the northern hemisphere IR satellite image pictured a series of storms crossing the Pacific in our direction. The storm scheduled for tomorrow and Wednesday looks impressive at this time (about 12 hours ago – yes, I have other things to do than look at the weather).  ;D



The Toyon berries, Heteromeles arbutifolia, were marvelous and everywhere throughout the canyon. I especially enjoyed the raindrops clings to the berries.



The silvery foliage of Lupinus albifrons var. albifrons is striking. I finally have a number of plants well established in our Sacramento garden. The Bush Lupines are very compatible with a number of our native Castilleja species, both being long lived and free blooming for long periods, when living together. I actually had a successful crop of Castilleja attenuata, Valley Tassel’s, last season. This was my first success with an annual Castilleja species. I have to admit that they were not very impressive, however some of our other annual Castilleja species are dramatic. Something for me to work on.



Good forms of White-leaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida, have conspicuous silvery foliage with brilliant red new growth in the spring. The chestnut bark increases in beauty as the plants age. Currently, I have some phenomenal forms of this species growing at our Sacramento home. They are very tight and compact in their growth habit, with foliage that is very silvery and noticeably smaller than the standard species. The new growth on the seedlings is brilliant red. I hope that I can share photographs this season.



The Goldback Ferns, Pentagramma triangularis, have been dormant all summer and are now in full growth.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 06:03:37 AM 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

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Re: 2019 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2019, 06:00:24 AM »


Clumps of Phacelia imbricata ssp. imbricata are very common on open slopes.

A few postings back I wrote about experiments regarding solar radiation, evapotranspiration, etc. One of these experiments demonstrated the need to carefully consider the properties of the soil in which we grow our garden plants. I have had a tendency to avoid clay in my soil mixes, however I found that many of our California native species (especially many annuals, but others too) thrive with some clay (sometimes even a lot) in the soil. At the other end of the spectrum, many of our native Delphinium species thrive in almost pure sand. Many of our California native Delphinium species are incredibly beautiful (at least in my subjective mind). The next crop looks to bloom this spring in our Sacramento garden.



Dudleya cymosa ssp. cymosa is somewhat common in semi-shaded rock crevices. Our tiny new wall garden at our Sacramento home is planted with a number of our California native Dudleya species. They are thriving. I have wanted to share photographs, but have not had an opportunity – one of the disadvantages of being out-of-town far, far too often.



With the recent and overnight rainfall the seasonal streams are full of water and the waterfalls are back in action again.



With the autumn and winter rainfall, Polypodium calirhiza, also is in full growth. This species thrives in our Sacramento garden, providing it is kept bone dry during the summer.



Sedum spathulifolium enjoys growing on shaded rock faces.
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

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Re: 2019 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2019, 06:02:35 AM »


Micranthes californica shares the same habitat with Sedum spathulifoium, however the Micranthes can also be found growing where there is a bit more soil. I think that I finally have the species established in our Sacramento garden. It needs to be kept dry during the summer and protected from slugs.



It was nice to see Rock Creek full of water. The seasonal ditch at the base of the property at the farm is barely flowing. With average precipitation it will flow well all winter, and into the spring. With heavy rainfall, it will even over flow its narrow banks and flood the street.



The lichens look great this time of year. This stone was covered with Xanthoparmelia and Umbilicaria phaea lichens. The Umbilicaria phaea are the brownish colored lichens.



I will leave this posting with another shot of Heteromeles arbutifolia. With the bright berries, it was the plant of the day. It is another species that thrives in our Sacramento garden –maybe flowers and berries this season.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 02:19:08 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

Ian Y

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Re: 2019 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2019, 11:41:53 AM »
Thank you Robert for another series of fascinating posts full of environmental and cultural information I love reading them.
Ian Young, Aberdeen North East Scotland   - 
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http://www.srgc.org.uk/bulblog/bulblog.html

Robert

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Re: 2019 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2019, 02:20:27 PM »
Hi Ian,

Thank you for the encouraging comments.

I always appreciate your admonition and perspective of gardening through your art and artistic standpoint (the bulb log). I may seem distracted with meteorology, climatology or some simplistic experiment, however I am always observing how the macrocosm plays itself out in the microcosm of our garden. Clay soil is often the bane of gardeners (it can be around our area, with some thick poorly draining soil). Observing how some species germinate, grow and thrive with some degree of clay in the soil seemed the antithesis of rock gardening (sand beds, gritty soils, quick drainage, etc.). If I was not experimenting with different species and differing soils to test various rates of evapotranspiration and thermal conductivity within differing soils, I never would have appreciated the value of clay when cultivating some of our native species.

This morning before readying myself for the day in Sacramento with my wife and family (now 3 flighed cockatiels and a canary), I checked our weather. It appears that the next storm will arrive and bring us some rain. Unfortunately, the frontal band is progressing ahead of the parent low and shifting from being positively tilted to a more vertical orientation. This has been a much too familiar pattern this winter. As the precipitation band approaches our coast one can see the 850 mb moisture transport shunting the precipitation off to the north – northeast. Both the NAM (North American) and GFS indicate that the there will be enough 500 mb (and 300 mb – Jetstream) support and vorticity to bring rain to our area, however like a broken record, it appears that the bulk of the precipitation will once again be shunted off to the northeast. The question is where and how much. Lately, it has been a positively slanted line through the Sacramento area leaving us in El Dorado County to the east with less precipitation.

The position of high pressure south of Mexico (Hadley cell circulation) is at times shunting the southern branch of the Jetstream a bit more to the north-northeast pushing the northern branch of the Jetstream to the north too. Of coarse, there have been other patterns too this autumn-winter, however I wish to see less of this pattern and more precipitation.

The projections beyond day 3 indicate the development of a cut-off low plunging into the Southern California region (another frequent pattern lately) and then a somewhat chaotic pattern, day 7 plus or minus. Huh?  ???  I will believe it when I see it.

Anyway, with the help of God, I will have a bit of time out next week and we will receive more precipitation.  :)

« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 02:22:56 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

François Lambert

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Re: 2019 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2019, 12:55:14 PM »
Hello Robert,


I recognise myself in your search for rain to come.  The last 2 years have been very dry where I live - and it's only 10 years now that since I moved to Herne, but in thos last 10 years we have already had a number of extended periods without any rain here.  My place has some kind of micro-climate where often it's raining anywhere else in Belgium but not here, no matter if the rain comes from the South-West, the East, the north, ....  The official weather statistics for Herne shows it was the driest place in Belgium in 2018 with only 45 cm of rain last year (60 cm in 2017), where the average for the previous 8 years is about 80 cm.  Official weather recording only started in 2008 for my village, so no idea what the long term average is, but for Brussels (30 km away from where I live) it is 85 cm.  As soon as it hasn't been raining for a couple of months I start checking the weather forecasts hoping to see rain is on it's way ...

One additional 'stress' for me is that I only use rainwater for my plants and for the garden, so I start to worry about how much water is left in my rainwater tank after 3 months without any rain.  Fortunately I had some divine inspiration when I placed these underground tanks, when full they hold 30.000 liter of water, which was a calculation I made to be able to bridge my water consumption for 3 months.  Seems now that when you are a bit cautious with water usage you can extend this to 5 months.  But several times the idea crossed my mind to increase storage capacity to 50.000 liter by adding one more jumbo sized rainwater tank to the system.  So, the longer it has not rained the more I think about rain and water.

in 2018 as well as in 2017 we had in both years 5 consecutive months without rain - each time including June, July & August, and topped with a tropical heat wave during the 2018 summer.  Although we had a close to normal quantity of rain since November, ditches where usually water should be running since November are still dry, telling me the soil is still far from being saturated with water.

In both summers I was admiring how the vegetation was still able to find water during the summer after months of rainless days - but last year several trees were showing signs of water stress, and I'm afraid one of the century old ashes that grow on the property may have suffered just too much from the drought.
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Robert

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Re: 2019 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2019, 01:59:29 PM »
Francois,

I read your posting with keen interests! Your local WX (weather) - precipitation issues are fascinating, and very understandably troubling, or of great concern, to you. It appears that you have been able to adjust well to the situation, especially considering the 2018 summer heat wave in parts of Europe.

I very much appreciate your time sharing this information. Thank you.  :)   8)


These are our current conditions:

9 January 2019
1345 UTC

I checked the precipitation totals at our Sacramento home yesterday. We received 1.64 inches of precipitation from the recent series of storms through 7 January vs. 1.09 inches at the El Dorado County farm. As of 7 January, our Sacramento home has 101% average precipitation to date vs. 57% to date at the farm. What a difference 45 miles distance can make!



This is an interesting graph. It compares the Sacramento 500 mb heights and the phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO or Northern Annular Mode) for December 2018. The 500 mb heights are phase shifted back 7 days. I am using graphs like this (more seasonal than monthly, and other methods of analysis) to find relationships (if any) between the AO / 500 mb heights and our local temperatures, frontal activity, precipitation, upper air patterns, etc. At the beginning and end of the graph, there is a divergence in the pattern (central part of the graph). Understanding the departure in the pattern is also part of the process.

Currently it is 51 F (10.6 C) and raining at the farm.  :)
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

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Re: 2019 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2019, 01:42:37 PM »


Here is another interesting graph.

The precipitation totals are from our Sacramento home to Peavine Ridge, 1 July 2018 through December 2018. The elevation scale is in meters x 102, precipitation in inches. The effect of orographic lift on precipitation is clear. Most seasons the trend line between our Sacramento home and the Placerville farm, points 1 and 2, is much steeper.

I was able to check on the recent snow on the crest of Peavine Ridge. The last storm was very warm, with snow levels running in the >6,000 foot level. Only 9 cm of wet snow remained on the ground. With one sunny day it will all be gone. The forecasting models are not in agreement with the next storm, however the last trend looks more favorable for precipitation in our area. I certainly hope so.  :)
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

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Re: 2019 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2019, 08:26:41 PM »
14 January 2019
1400 UTC

The distribution of precipitation this season has been very uneven through Northern and Central California this season. The following is a comparison of the precipitation totals 1 October 2018, to date 13 January 2019.

> Our Sacramento home, elevation 23 feet.
Precipitation to date: 8.06 inches, 93% of average to date.

> Sacramento Executive Airport, elevation 16 feet.
Precipitation to date: 6.52 inches, 83% of average to date.
Sacramento Executive Airport is 3 or 4 miles from our Sacramento home.

> Peavine Ridge, elevation 5,126 feet.
Precipitation to date: 15.23 inches (Liquid equivalents).
At this time I do not have enough data to provide accurate average to date precipitation totals for this site.

> Blue Canyon Airport, elevation 5,282 feet.
Precipitation to date: 22.66 inches (Liquid equivalents), 81% of average to date.
Blue Canyon Airport is location ≈ 50 miles north of Peavine Ridge.

> A general survey of precipitation totals through out Northern California reveals percent of average precipitation totals to date vary between 54% and 73%, with Redding at the northern end of the Sacramento Valley recording a high of 97% of average to date.

In Central California to totals are similar, ranging from 60% of average to date, to a high of 120% recorded at Stockton ≈ 50 miles south of Sacramento.

Now to shift gears a bit…

There are a number of challenges associated with the study of mountain weather (where the alpine species we cultivate grow). Mountainous regions are often remote and not easily accessible, especially sites above 2,000 meters in our region. Topographical issues need careful consideration. Orientation such as slope, ridge crests, valley bottoms, etc. need to be carefully considered. The standardization of weather observations is also of prime concern. Accurate measurements of precipitation in the form of snow can be challenging. At high elevation sites, the build-up of rime on instruments can lead to spurious readings. My solution to some of these challenges is making frequent manual observations and maintenance of instrumentation.

There is certainly a need for accurate information concerning the cultivation of alpine species in our gardens. A survey of several web sites offering cultural information regarding California native species reveals large listings of species, but with very generalized cultural information. In most cases essential details pertaining to their cultural needs are missing. As an example, one of our local species, Penstemon roezlii is rarely cultivated. In the wild it is an unassuming species, however in cultivation it is highly ornamental – with a compact habit, very floriferous, and attractive lavender-blue flowers. An intimate knowledge of this species cultural needs and cultural potential is essential for its successful cultivation and appreciation.

For me knowledge of the meteorology, climatology, geology, hydrology, field botany, etc. can be very revealing concerning the cultivation of under utilized species, and in my case the cultivation of little used California Native Species. Working through the challenges of studying mountain climates provides me with large amounts of detailed information that is highly relevant to the cultivation our mountainous California native plant species. Please bare with me, precipitation totals, snow cover, temperatures, past, present, and future climatic conditions can be both interesting and very revealing to the cultivation of the alpine species we grow in our gardens.

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

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Re: 2019 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2019, 01:56:26 PM »
Good News.  :)

Recent stormy weather has dropped a goodly amount of precipitation in our immediate part of Northern California. When I can I will report the totals. Unfortunately, the heaviest precipitation event was relatively warm with snow levels stated at 6,500 feet. From my perspective the snow level might have been a bit lower and I will investigate this as soon as I can. In our part of California, the trend toward higher snow levels has been quite noticeable over the last 30 to 40 years.
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

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Re: 2019 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2019, 03:24:04 PM »
18 January 2019
15 UTC

The recent series of storms to hit Northern California improved our precipitation totals. Below are some of the totals.

Our Sacramento home, 23 feet, 7 meters
Storm total: 2.46 inches, 62.48 mm
Precipitation total to date: 10.62 inches, 269.75 mm, 121% of average to date, 17 January.

Placerville farm, 1,460 feet, 445 meters
Storm total: 4.08 inches, 103.63 mm
Precipitation total to date: 12.49 inches, 317.25 mm, 80 % of average to date, 17 January.

In addition, these are some local snow totals.

Van Vleck, 6,700 feet, 2,042 meters
% 1 April mean 59%
Current Liquid Equivalent (not current snow depth): 21.2 inches, 538.48 mm
Liquid Equivalent 1 April mean: 35.9 inches, 911.86 mm

Robb’s Saddle, 5,900 feet, 1,798 meters
% 1 April mean 35%
Current Liquid Equivalent: 7.6 inches, 193.04 mm
Liquid Equivalent 1 April mean: 21.4 inches, 543.56 mm

The last set of statistics is more indicative of rising snow levels. Below 5,900 feet, current snow accumulations are much below the 1 April mean. During the recent storms, snow levels were above 6,000 feet, for the most part, when the bulk of the precipitation fell. 30 - 40 years ago this would be considered a high snow level.

Into the future, current forecast suggest that another storm will pass through our region during the Sunday – Monday time period. Beyond this point the models suggest that a Rex or Omega type block may develop off the west coast of North America. If this forecast pans out this could lead to above average temperatures and a prolonged period of dry weather.

Stay tuned. This time of year, run-to-run, the 192 hour numerical models can be very changeable.
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

 


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