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Author Topic: January 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere  (Read 2386 times)

Akke

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January 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« on: January 03, 2023, 08:31:15 PM »
Hi Robert

You’re challenges with climate seem so much bigger than over here. I admire your adventures in growing plants that can stand your extreme temperatures and drought. Thank you for sharing, and who knows, even this ‘frog-country’ might need plants like that in the near future.

At present we’re combining seasons, wheather is mostly autumnal regarding temperatures and precipitation (mild and wet), this morning winter-ish, cloudless sunrise made a beatiful spotlight on the bare trees and early spring flowering is already beginning.

Iris danfordiae just jumped out.


Less unexpected, Eranthis hyemalis is starting in the old churchyard.


You’re right about Crocus and containers, it made me wonder if I would have appreciated them the way I do now, in a garden situation. Some more will be added, not bought locally, but from a very good Crocus place in Latvia.
Akke & Spot
Mostly bulbs. Gardening in containers and enjoying public green.
Northern part of The Netherlands, a bit above sealevel, zone 8a normally, average precipitation 875 mm.
Lots to discover.

Robert

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Re: January 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2023, 09:26:32 PM »
Hi Akke,

Things are a mess here in our part of Northern California. From 30 December 2022 through 1 January 2023 we received 11.28 inches (286.51 mm) of precipitation at our Placerville property. On 31 December alone 7.68 inches (195.07 mm) of precipitation fell. During this time period temperatures were very mild so a great deal of the precipitation fell as rain in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Needless to say the rain plus the melting snow led to a great deal of local flooding in rural areas.

Compounding the situation, our part of Sacramento was hit by a Derecho between 8 and 9 p.m. on 31 December. During this one-hour time period sustained winds were between 40 – 45 miles per hour (17.88 – 20.12 meters per second) with peak wind gusts at 59 mph (26.38 m/s). Our garden and home was not damaged, however the garden was a huge mess. The electric power went out and a number of large trees in our neighborhood fell to the ground.

Today, 4 January, the overcast and rain continues, but fortunately the forecasted storm moved off to the north, so the wind and rain were not as intense as forecasted. However, much more stormy weather is forecasted for the next week or more. Some of the storms could be as strong as the one we experienced between 30 December and 1 January.

Needless to say I am not getting much work done out in the garden. Jasmin and I were able to get the worst of the mess from the Derecho cleaned up, however much more needs to be done. In our garden Galanthus elwesii has started to emerge from the ground and the Cyclamen coum are starting to bloom. I went looking for Eranthis hyemalis, however I did not see any emerging from the ground yet.

I grew Iris danfordiae about 15 years ago but lost this species. At times the bulbs are sold at our local nurseries, but not consistently. I do enjoy this time of year when the early blooming plant species start to bloom. Here in our part of California, Cardamine californica is among the first species to start blooming each spring (winter). I enjoy this species greatly and want to bring it back into cultivation in our Sacramento garden. We have so many wonderful native species to experiment with!

Thank you for your kind comments concerning my gardening efforts here in California. Our climate is so different and the plants that can adapt to our hot, dry summers are so very different to those experienced in Northern Europe. Despite the major differences, I enjoy posting on this Forum and wish to continue. Believe-it-or-not I have been gathering data on our local native plant species, our local climate, and how our native plant species are adapting to the dramatic changes taking place in their ecosystems for well over 40 years. What I see happening in our region is alarming. The genetic variability of many species is being compromised, for example the extinction in the wild of some unique ecotypes - their horticultural potential lost forever! I do the best I can as a single individual to do what I can to ameliorate the situation, however it is like empting the ocean with a teaspoon or Sisyphus. Despite the challenges, I enjoy working with our native plants greatly.

May you have a very enjoyable gardening season this coming year. I look forward to more postings on the Forum when you have the opportunity. I am fascinated in your container gardens and the other plants you encounter in your vicinity. I am keenly interested in how they will evolve and the choice of plants you will make. I look forward to viewing the new Crocus species you will be acquiring.

[Jasmin]:  They say how you spend the New Year is how the year will go—and I hope this is not a true prediction!   Let’s see:  huge, old trees completely fallen over; flooding; power outages, and the drama of high winds, rain, lightening and thunder.  The whole time I prayed we would be alright.  The neighbors have a huge sycamore that is the worst example of mass nursery production:  Of all the deciduous trees in the area, it is the one to hold onto its leaves.  This and other factors lead the tree to be very top heavy.  We always pray that no limbs—nor the tree itself—fall on us.  In previous storms we have had huge limbs fall.  In 2017 a large tree fell, destroying the power:  The entire area was without power, and our power box was torn from the house and needed replacement.  We were without power an entire week.

Although the power did fail, it was of short duration:  It was restored by 11:45 p.m., just in time for the midnight turning of the year.  Instead of the usual fireworks or gunshots, it was extremely quiet—Something I did not mind.
(Akke:  Like Spot, I am no fan of loud bursts of noise.  Fireworks and explosives are in the same loathsome category for me.  I always want to duck and cover.  I am no fan of thunder/lightening either.  Years ago, during my “dog days”, Ditto an Australian Shepherd type was so terrified he managed to run away despite precautions—He could be very Houdini-like.
  No limbs, nor the tree, fell.  Small branches, yes, but altogether we were very fortunate.  Also, I had prepared myself for bird losses under the circumstances, and was thankful none died.

Robert’s brother sent us a photo of the post office in El Dorado, which had flooded.  There has been a saying here that “rain, sleet, snow, or hail, the mail will get through”.  Although El Dorado is a long way from water, perhaps it is time to reconsider and invest in mail boat delivery?



During our day or two respite from the weather, we did some clean-up, and stocking up.  I do feel as though most of my time is spent shopping to stock up for some disaster or another.  When not shopping or running errands, I did attempt to capture a few pictures. Maybe I was spurred to act because Robert said there was not much to see, or perhaps I am influenced by the images of the Bulb Log.  While there are a few I have read, often I have not had or made the time.  I do not read them in order, and I can end up re-reading some, because it is so long since I last looked at it.  It can be amazing what you see the next time around:  For example, the cover of the 30 March 2022, issue 13—The Corydalis malkensis flowers look like white-gloved hands with fingers poking out in various postures.



I always enjoy the new growth on this Camellia.  I also attempted to capture the number of buds ready to burst; however, this image did not do the plant any justice.  Visually, I am challenged, and this is no help!  This particular plant astounds me, because it grows and blooms well despite the full, baking sun.  Originally, it received the recommended morning sun, afternoon shade; however, when we removed the back portion of the house to have more garden and the aviary, this meant the Camellia would be in the sun—for a time—or so we thought.  We initially put shade cloth, and planted a couple Arctostaphylos intending to filter the light, but this plan fell apart, and the Camellia has been forced to cope.  Surprisingly, it actually seems happier:  It has better foliage color, and blooms profusely—better than before!  Some plants that we had pampered have been lost, and here neglect has actually been an asset.  You just never know until you experiment.



This photo is definitely influenced by the Bulb Logs:  appreciation of wild spaces, weeds, rocks, textures, shades and hues.  While I do not wish to live my life filtered, via a lens, we can make the time to contemplate the palette before us.  What is a mess, or monochrome, in an initial observation, actually glories in shades, light and shadow, seedlings of Nigella, lichens, and more.  The benefit of a photo is it does capture a specific locale at a specific time, so we can come back and reconsider it.  The downside is, the image is no longer valid, no longer real:  That moment and that location will never be the same ever again.  To truly live means to absorb the totality at that moment, knowing it is ephemeral.  Sometimes this is disappointing:  I saw a Lady Beetle in the leaf axil of some mint, yet was unable to capture that precious moment.

Instead, we close with the last of the autumn colors, before the storms blew them away:  Rhododendron luteum, and an apple.


Rhododendron luteum ‘golden Comet’


Calville Blanc Apple
« Last Edit: January 06, 2023, 01:27:27 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 mcdonald

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Re: January 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2023, 03:54:07 PM »
Robert and Jasmin, your comments on the recent weather in your area reminded me of the weather in the UK in 1976. We had several weeks of hot, dry weather, with reservoirs becoming empty or nearly so. It became so serious that the government appointed a Minister for drought. Some weeks later we had so much rain that the same minister was re-named the minister for floods.

Robert

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Re: January 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2023, 06:33:07 PM »
Hi Ian,

I actually remember the drought in the UK back in 1976. I had a good friend whose mother was born in the UK. She still had family in England. They sent frequent reports (via snail mail back in those days) on the dry conditions. I still remember a photograph taken of the Thames River somewhere upstream of London. It looked pretty bleak and dry. I remember they were finding all sorts of ancient artifacts in the dry parts of the riverbed.

Wet-dry extremes in the weather are very typical in our part of California. I have been recording and keeping weather and climatic data for our part of Northern California for over 50 years now. I started in 1967 when I was in Junior High School. February of 1986 was notable. 21.87 inches (555.50 mm) of precipitation fell. There have also been seasons of extreme drought such as the years of 1975-1977.

There is currently debate in the atmospheric science community whether the dry weather that started in ~ 2000 is drought (which will end shortly) or part of a much longer term drying of the climate due to climate change – a change similar to what occurred during the Medieval Warm Period in California. The paleo-climatic data strongly suggested that California experienced several periods of severe drought that lasted for up to 100 years during this time period. My data concerning the impacts of the current drought and other anthropogenic impacts on our local ecosystems is alarming. Regionally, both managed (agriculture and gardening) and unmanaged (wild habitats) habitats are being severely impacted. My data indicates that the average annual precipitation has declined very close to 10% since the dry weather started in 2000, however the decline in the average annual precipitation has been ongoing since the 1880’s based on archived data that I have researched, just at a much slower rate of change. Statically and through quantitative field measurements it is easy to demonstrate that a few wet seasons does not mean that our current dry weather has ended or is coming to an end. From 2000 to 2021 there were only 4 seasons with markedly above average precipitation and our annual precipitation still declined ~ 10% during this time period. We will need consistent wet seasons for many years to bring an end to the current dry pattern, at least concerning the hydrological impacts on ecosystems.

With all this climatic chaos taking place, ornamental horticultural receives little or no attention. For me, this is the perfect, quiet place to park myself and see what I can accomplish. So far, in some cases positive results have been fairly easy to achieve and have come fairly quickly. There are, of course, many much more difficult challenges that will likely take much more effort and time to resolve. It is my tiny contribution to our local California native plant species and a few other ornamental species that I can find time to work with. For those that are interested I will share my results and ongoing progress on this Forum (only).

BTW – Ian, Jasmin and I enjoy your wildlife and habitat postings greatly. Jasmin especially enjoys the photographs of the birds, however we both enjoy all the photographs and information. It is very fascinating. Thank you for making the regular postings. We do follow along.  [Jasmin]:  Somehow, living with birds provides a deeper appreciation and awareness of the behaviors of our wild birds.  Truly, our companions are not much removed from their wild cousins!  No wonder people can be divided into those who appreciate and enjoy wildness in the home, and those who should not have birds and find people like me to give their birds to.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2023, 06:38:13 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

Stefan B.

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Re: January 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2023, 04:29:28 PM »

 8)

ruweiss

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Re: January 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2023, 08:01:30 PM »
Today in our meadow garden:
Picea orientalis `Skyland`
Cyclamen coum start to flower, 3 weeks earlier than last year,
the last weeks were extremely warm.
Rudi Weiss,Waiblingen,southern Germany,
climate zone 8a,elevation 250 m

Akke

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Re: January 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2023, 09:20:09 PM »
Nice catch, Stefan.
Probably means that temperatures are also higher than normal.

Rudi

Lovely, temperatures seem to have been high in a big part of Europe.

Robert & Jasmin

Are you allright?
News about the Sacramento area was worrying last week.
https://nos.nl/artikel/2459093-half-miljoen-mensen-en-bedrijven-in-californie-zonder-stroom-door-noodweer
I’m not sure if your having problems in your home and garden, but other things can go wrong. And while these atmospheric rivers are very interesting in a meteorologic sense, they seem better study material from a distance.
At the same time precipitation records are being broken here (we are not used to much) locally 91mm has already been measured, the normal average in January is 71 mm. So far just minor flooding problems as this has mostly been coming down over a long period, it has been mild (2-5C above average) and autumnal for four weeks. This also means that spring flowers are showing up, Galanthus, Scilla, Pseudomuscari and of course Crocus.  At the same time really enjoying your Californian species.



Brought Crocus biflorus ‘Basilicata’ inside for a bit. Like unboxing a present, opening up the creamy-feathered outside, revealed the lovely violet inside.

Jasmin

Being visually challenged doesn’t stop you (or Dillan, a local photographer) from making great pictures. When it comes to mixed feelings about photography, in the past (pre-digital) I already met the feeling of living through a lens and didn’t like it. But, as your pictures show, there is always something to see, sometimes taking pictures actually makes someone look better. What you said made me think of a picture I didn’t take, Carpinus betulus with a dark and smooth (but structured) bark, surrounded by yellow leaves in a Vincent-van-Gogh style. This (non)picture could be getting better everytime I visualize it.

Btw for some unknown reason Spot seems to be fond of Australian Shepherds, but the only Houdini-dog I know is her son.

« Last Edit: January 15, 2023, 09:44:30 AM by Akke »
Akke & Spot
Mostly bulbs. Gardening in containers and enjoying public green.
Northern part of The Netherlands, a bit above sealevel, zone 8a normally, average precipitation 875 mm.
Lots to discover.

Akke

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Re: January 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2023, 09:50:39 AM »


Apart from being great compost, someone found another good way to use fallen leaves.
Akke & Spot
Mostly bulbs. Gardening in containers and enjoying public green.
Northern part of The Netherlands, a bit above sealevel, zone 8a normally, average precipitation 875 mm.
Lots to discover.

Robert

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Re: January 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2023, 08:45:16 PM »
Hi Akke,



Sacramento is ready to be eaten by the precipitation monster.

Yes, Jasmin and I are okay. Like most here in California we have had to deal with our share of the consequences of the persistent severe weather. Here in Sacramento, part of our fence was damaged by the 63 mph (28.1635 m/s) winds. As of today, 15 January, it is still raining. The garden is a mess as there have been few days to do any maintenance and the few good days have been occupied by necessary repair work both here in Sacramento and at our Placerville property. At the Placerville property sediments needed to be removed from culverts and damaged trees removed before they fell on a house. In Sacramento the electrical power went out twice. At one point over 250,000 customers were without electrical power in Sacramento. We went close to 24 hours without power in the second episode. The cold house was difficult for our sick cockatiel Daryia, but she survived and is still with us.  In the first episode, our canary Miel had severe difficulty, and when it was silent, we thought she was gone.  However, she and all the birds miraculously made it through. Other folks in our area went 4 days without electrical power.  In a similar storm in January 2017, we were without power a full week.  Then, too, the birds made it through miraculously. It is difficult to escape the floodwaters when the electrical power is out and your electric vehicle needs charging. Ooopps, they did not think of that one. But then over 1,000 trees went down during one of the major storms and blocked many roads. Needless to say things were a mess and in some places still are a mess, especially if the floodwater reached your home.

Extremes in precipitation are nothing new to California. At our Placerville property, the 7.68 inches (195.07 mm) that fell on 31 December 2022 exceeded the previous 24 -hour precipitation record set on 17 February 1986 when 4.85 inches (123.19 mm) fell. February of 1986 was extremely wet. 15.59 inches (395.99 mm) of precipitation fell from 14 through 19 February. Currently, to date, our precipitation total is 34.09 inches (865.89 mm). We are still far from having a record-breaking precipitation season.

Here are some examples of precipitation extremes in our area:

2016-17 - 62.59 inches (1,589.79 mm)
In February of 2017 the main emergency spillway on Oroville Dam failed. More than 180,000 people down stream needed to be evacuated. At this time the levee on the Sacramento River, very close to our home, was near its top and leaking at its base. If the spillway had completely failed our levee would have failed and our house would have been under water.

1892-93 – 63.54 inches (1,613.92 mm)
Seasonal rainfall totals like this were much more common from 1850 to 1900.

2020-21 – 16.32 inches (414.43 mm)
1975-76 – 15.90 inches (403.86 mm)
1976-77 – 15.86 inches (402.84 mm)
Extremely dry seasons and extreme drought are occurring more frequently and are now far more persistent.

Anomalous weather events can certainly be challenging to the gardener. This is reason enough for me to grow land races of plant species, or at least a selection of plants derived from a land race. Some plants will likely survive all the extremes that each anomalous weather event brings.

Currently in the garden Galanthus elwesii is starting to bloom. Crocus angustifolius, with its golden yellow flowers, has opened a few flowers when the sun has appeared briefly. Drier weather and a few sunny days are finally in the forecast. It will be nice to dry out a little bit.



A strong Jetstream before the rainy weather started.

[Jasmin]:  When the gusts are strong, and the power lines arc and twist, they produce amazing colored sparks in reds, greens, and golds; however, it is a light show I can do without.  Between power outages, and episodes of lightening storms, doing laundry and cooking have had to occur at the oddest hours.  It is like in Africa or India, and such, doing things when you can.  Even the stores have been affected:  Either the shelves are bare as a result of COVID, or they suffered losses, or there are people like us showing up to stock up between emergencies—never mind the silly folks out to replace their losses when we have not even finished with this yet, and the likelihood of more outages is high.

Since my parents went through the War, my mindset is very much affected by their survival lessons, for better and worse.  There are no bombs, thankfully; however, priorities do shift for survival.  Alternative energy does not work in these conditions, and becomes a liability and a toxic waste.  Our home is the least toxic option, with passive solar; however, there is no sun, and has not been for a couple months:  First, fog, and now atmospheric rain rivers.  Our home is great in the warm and hot months, but adequate alternatives for winter are woeful.  We keep the bird room warm, and live in there; yet rely on electricity.
We have yet to develop a dietary reserve that meets all our needs, especially under these circumstances.  Some of the dilemma is having food that is not processed with sugar and salt, leaving out most commercial store-bought items.  Another factor is growing sufficient to feed ourselves, so that in circumstances such as these when stores are inaccessible or empty, there is something to sustain us.  Lentils and garbanzos after soaking and sprouting can be eaten raw.   Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages have held up well in spite of the weather.  The Brussels sprouts are already signaling spring, and had to be stripped before bolting.

Having hot food is incredibly restorative, as is hot water.  One of our errands was obtaining more water:  When the power goes out, not only can you not boil the water, it is doubtful the community can sanitize it either.  During emergencies, we expend a lot of energy, and dehydration can set in.  Hydration, and critical sanitation are vital to maintaining health.

Another lesson I remember from my wise elders was on the importance of sleep:  an hour or two can equal one or two days extra survival.  It is hard to slow down enough to heed that advice when we are hungry, and it takes so much effort to sustain oneself.  Yet, without the rest, we also fall into decline.  Emergency situations require us to think as clearly as possible, and we use incredible emotional reserves as well as physical ones.  Rest for even a little bit can restore us to function well.  If sleep itself is difficult because we are nervous or agitated, a restful activity can help sooth us enough:  It is a good time to crochet, knit, or read something light.  Humor is also helpful, even if it is bizarre or gallows’ humor.  As much as we are taught to be brave, and not be a burden, crying has its therapeutic place, enabling us to function with our fullest possible energy:  It takes more energy to suppress emotional energy than to just cry for a bit, and be able to move on into the important tasks we must perform.

Our most interesting pictures are from the satellite and weather imagery, not from photos.  Unlike Mr. Young’s Bulb Log images in the one issue, I cannot photograph anything through the windows and hope for any image to appear.  On my journey to the compost pile, I saw some early hoop petticoat Narcissus, and Arctostaphylos flowers doing their seasonal show.  The Camellia cuspidata buds are continuing to swell.  It is too rainy to do more than tell you about them, and have you see them in your mind’s eye.

Akke:  The leafy smile face was perfect cheer.  Your news images pretty much summed up a lot:  lots of water and downed huge trees.  When I look at the Forum on my own, I think I show up as a Google or a Spider (you always wonder who those characters might be), so I can enlarge the screen as needed.  Thank you for giving me another way to see things/look at things (pun intended).  Like you, there are so many images I hold in my mind of scenes I never had a camera for.  The blessing is they can open up into something richer, even if far from the actual truth.  For example, the past week or so I have this craving for a deep, dark chocolate two-layer cake that is very light, fluffy, and moist—melting like pudding in the mouth.  It is very lightly sweet, so the strong bitter quality of the dark chocolate is there.  The middle layer is pure, unsweetened whipped cream with a hint of vanilla.  I ate this one time, with my mother.  But now I can envision sitting at a café in Vienna with both my Papa and my mother, having this delicious cake and some hot tea, and the two of them with their “Kleine Schwartze” coffee, and some little pastry.  My mother would want the chocolate cake too, and either have her own, or we would order different just so we could share, even if our habit was a bit frowned on.  Papa would tease us, but in his loving way join in.  So, this photo that only exists in my heart is really more about what the heart holds, which is beyond capturing in any photograph.
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

Mariette

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Re: January 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2023, 06:43:59 PM »
Akke, I´ve never seen a smiley making me so happy!

Stefan, You seem to be gardening a in a climate which is similar to ours, regarding the early flowering of snowdrops. Really great pic!

Rudi, in our area everything starts growing and flowering very early, as well, and I´ve been busy clearing the borders since last month to set off snowdrops, crocusses and cyclamen which otherwise would be hidden behind withered perennials.

Robert and Jasmin, Your experiences of weather extremes and their consequences are really shocking, ours seem harmless compared with Yours. Nevertheless, average annual rainfall here dropped from 800 mm to 650 mm within a few decades. Pictures like this of the paddock on the other side of the street were not imaginable 30 years ago.



That pic was taken in summer, this one yesterday.



Pools on fields and meadows  for many weeks during winter are quite common, though no more so frequent today. 20 years ago, I even had parts of my garden flooded in winter.

To change to a more enjoyable subject: we seldom enjoy hoar-frost here to take those lovely, popular pictures of plants enhanced by those lovely tiny crystals. Yesterday I took the chance, this is Cyclamen elegans still in flower.



Most of the Cyclamen coum will flower later, but many started already.



Close-up

« Last Edit: January 19, 2023, 06:59:39 PM by Mariette »

Mariette

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Re: January 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2023, 07:03:31 PM »
Ordinary daisies in the lawn look quite different now.



I had planned to cut away the capsule of this hypericum, but didn´t manage yet.



Hamamelis ´Diane´, also covered with hoarfrost.



Eranthis and phlomis may both be weeds.



Geranium nodosum



Jasmin, I once met an old gardener, telling me that he took no more pics, asking who should view them all. There´s certainly the danger to view through lenses and other peoples´pics instead of enjoying moments in real life. Perhaps that´s why I take comparatively few pics.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2023, 07:18:54 PM by Mariette »

Robert

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Re: January 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2023, 07:09:52 PM »


We have had three days of clear and cold weather, since the last of the stormy weather moved out of our region. Saturday, my brother and I repaired the damaged fence at our Sacramento home. This was a big accomplishment and it turned out well. In addition, I now have an opportunity to remove the late autumn leaves that fell during the three weeks of stormy weather. The Galanthus have started to bloom before I have had an opportunity to get the entire garden cleaned up from the stormy weather. Despite the previous mess this garden bed, pictured above, is starting to look good.



Only one Eranthis hyemalis has appeared this winter. Last year many plants bloomed and there was evidence that new seedlings were getting established. I am not sure what happened, however I am suspicious that the dormant bulbs did not like the 115 F (46.1 C) weather last September. I will keep an eye out to see if more plants appear in the next few weeks, however I am already thinking in terms of other plant species to fill this early blooming niche in our garden.



Galanthus elwesii types (pictured) do well in our Sacramento garden. Galanthus nivalis is up and blooming too. For us, these generally bloom a little later, however each season is different.



I was up at the Placerville property earlier in the week. Ranunculus occidentalis var. occidentalis is a California native plant that grows abundantly on our Placerville property. I now have interspecific hybrids possessing this species as one of its parents that are tolerant of summertime irrigation. This will help fill the garden niche gap once filled by the Eranthis. I do my best to practice resilient and flexible gardening.



Micranthes californica is another native plant species that can be found growing on our Placerville property. This small growing species blooms with many tiny white flowers in the early spring. It requires dry conditions during its summer dormancy, however I have had some success growing this species in our Sacramento garden in the past. It is very easy to propagate, so I will give this species a try again in the near future.

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: January 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2023, 07:14:47 PM »


Primula hendersonii is yet another native species that grows abundantly on our Placerville property. Last year I set out a few plants in a semi-shade, summer dry portions of our Sacramento garden. A few days ago, I was finally able to remove the autumn leaves from this part of the garden and found that a few plants had become established. This species is very beautiful when it blooms and I am very pleased to have them growing in the ground now.



Mariette,

This is the pastureland to the south of our Placerville property. They graze goats on this land and it becomes completely denuded of vegetation every summer. The land was also part of the original Eureka Quartz Claim, a gold mine. Much of this property is covered with mine tailings. Before the gold mining, most likely species such as Lewisia rediviva and Platystemon californicus once grew at this location. Remnant populations of these and other native species can still be found on a small isolated plot a short walk down the road. Land use practices from the 1849 Gold Rush to this date have decimated many native plant populations in this area.

[Jasmin]:  Never feel that one climate disaster is worse than what you are dealing with.  Only you live with and have to deal with what changes are happening around you.  Yes, it can seem worse somewhere else—certainly Pakistan’s recent flooding in 2022, but the dried up rivers in China, Germany, Italy, the American Midwest, and prolonged drought in California coupled with huge wildfires—all qualify.

Images of the climate changes are always shocking, especially since my memories of certain places are from long ago.  Dried-up pastures and rivers in Germany are still difficult to assimilate as the current reality, when all I ever saw of your country was from the car or train, and it all seemed so beautiful. 

Sorry I never made the time to visit then, but I did not know how to sneak it in.  I was such a terrible traveller, not adventurous like those American girls!  I needed contacts to feel comfortable going somewhere, and there was no family or relations.  Sadly, I think there were unspoken taboos, between the War and the “Iron Curtain” that I inherited from certain relatives, which brings me shame to think of now.  It was their era, and their war(s), and they just kept so much alive that was not always healthy, and certainly stifled:  Their bodies were liberated, but their minds were not, and they created a type of prison for themselves and others.  I inherited their wisdom, and their faults. It has taken time to process and mature, and accept that they could be mistaken, wrong, and unjust in their own way.

I am so grateful for my continued interest in history, and the participation in this Forum, for both have broadened my understanding greatly.  It is the blessing of sincere, heartfelt communication that reveals the flawed thinking we have inherited, and opens the door to a loving heart, full of all the beauty, wonder, and joy that exists in the world.

Your photographs are part of this.  What images you do share are always exquisite, and the selections with hoarfrost are truly exceptional.  Plants we could consider weeds suddenly become works of art.  The Geranium nodosum leaf in particular is incredibly beautiful.  It embodies the joy to be alive, to be fully human, capable to appreciate and be moved.  It is the reason for gardening—to be fully alive.  The goal of the Forum is to partake in this aliveness together somehow without compromise:  The camera lens can sharpen our appreciation, and teach us to look closer, yet it can never substitute for the experience.  On some level, we all know this, and through this Forum we can touch each other and these things, knowing we are kindred souls.

BTW – Akke and Mariette

Thank you for conveying the current weather observations from your areas. They are extremely interesting to us.
Robert, again:



Our Placerville property has also suffered greatly from climatic induced environmental changes over that last 40 years. Poor land management was also an issue. Sadly my parents had a “scorched earth” land management policy despite my suggestions to care for the land in other ways. Years ago species such as Calochortus superbus and masses of Delphinium patens ssp. patens grow on our property. They are all gone now.



Currently efforts are being made to restore something resembling the original ecosystem on our property. This young seedling of Quercus wislizenii, Interior Live Oak, is very healthy and is growing well.



Species such as White Leaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida, are starting to reestablish on the property. Here the Manzanita can be seen growing with California Gray Pine, Pinus sabiniana. Pinus sabiniana is one of a number of pioneer species that grow in the Upper Sonoran Life Zone in our region.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2023, 01:02:35 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: January 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2023, 07:16:12 PM »


This White Leaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida will be blooming this season. Toyon, Hetromeles arbutifolia, has also reestablished itself on our property. The Toyon now produces abundant crops of red fruit each season and are starting to regenerate in other parts of our Placerville property.
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

Mariette

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Re: January 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2023, 08:13:51 PM »
Thank You, Jasmin and Robert, for Your kind comment!

Vegetation in our area isn´t rich and varied, and especially lacking the many beautiful flowers growing wild in California. Therefore, not much will be lost due to climate change in my part of the world, yet the change is nevertheless drastic and threatening for those engaged in gardening or agriculture. For instance, the paddock shown was used for about 3 cows 20 or 30 years ago, and provided enough grass to nourish them from May, when they used to be transported hither, till October, when they were fetched back to their cowshed. Nothing one might have practised these last 10 years.

 


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