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Author Topic: December 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere  (Read 2236 times)

Robert

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December 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere
« on: December 03, 2022, 02:15:13 PM »
The month of December has started out cold and rainy. The rain is much needed, as much of the month of November was dry. Even with the recent precipitation, totals are still only 88.04% of average. In the Sierra Nevada Mountains the situation is a little bit better, with snow liquid equivalents close to average.

Temperatures during the month of November were 3.51 F (1.95 C) below average. We have not seen cool November temperatures like this since 1990, 32 years! The cool temperatures have been great for stratifying seeds and plant species that like a good winter rest. We hope this weather trend continues through the winter. I can place seed pans in the refrigerator, but leaving the seed pans outside during the winter has always worked out better for me.



The garden is a mess after the recent storm. Another storm is forecasted for today.



The cool weather has brought out the best autumn leaf color in Rhododendron mucronulatum ‘Berg’s Best’.
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

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Re: December 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2022, 05:27:08 PM »
Hi Robert

Our November temperatures have also been  below normal. We have been getting 30s to low 40s where we usually get mid 40s to 50s
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

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Re: December 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2022, 08:32:20 PM »
Marc

Yea, we are being impacted by the same synoptic weather pattern.

This is the third year with La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific. Three La Niña seasons in a row is unusual. So far this La Niña season has brought much cooler than average temperatures to our region with much more low elevation snow in our portion of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I am concerned about precipitation totals for remaining part of our precipitation season. During the previous two La Niña seasons the January to March period was extremely dry with much above average temperatures. The relentless and perhaps accelerating pace of climatic change has me deeply concerned. For me, the climatic induced agricultural crop losses throughout the northern hemisphere this last summer were extremely alarming. Although I am still working with ornamental species, the bulk of my efforts are now with food crops that Jasmin and I rely on as our primary food source. I will report on what I am doing. The basic principles that I use with food crops will generally equally apply to ornamental species. If our garden thrives despite the adversities of climate change I think others will be interested in what is working for us.

[Jasmin]:  Actually, right now the weather we are experiencing is the normal Robert and I lived with until “recently”.  According to Robert’s weather records, until the 1990s.  In my memory, December 1997 was the cutoff of the last normal weather.  After that, it has become increasingly erratic, accelerating precipitously as we entered the past two decades.  Like the development, it has turned into a hockey stick, with an astounding rocket takeoff into the stratosphere. 
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

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Re: December 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2022, 01:31:02 AM »
Robert,

I agree that we are in a la nin(y)a weather pattern but it is behaving more like an el nin(y)o. In a typical la nin(y)a year we get warm winds from the South; but, this year, we are getting cold winds from the North.
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

brianw

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Re: December 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2022, 08:07:02 PM »
Our long hot summer/autumn seems to have finished here in SE UK. A few weeks ago the cold air coming off of Nova Scotia was going down to the African west coast and coming back up to us; nicely warmed. Seems to have reversed now.
I use this website when I check
https://www.windy.com/?45.778,-34.189,4,m:eTxaepg

Brian
Edge of Chiltern hills, 25 miles west of London, England

Akke

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Re: December 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2022, 08:31:22 PM »
Thank you Mariëtte and I agree with Robert that your pics show great combinations. You might have a small garden, you seem to use it well. I’m no expert on weeds, but I understand that problems can be very local, like Sisyrinchium californicum being unwanted in the south-western part of the Netherlands.

Wheather here is again winter-ish. Some plants and seedlings have been given shelter already, worst case more will need protection. After the first serious frosts, some plants growing around showed black leaves, autumn progressed rapidly but still some plants (including annuals) refused to give in.
Speaking of climate in general, I have to look at statitics (maybe not a bad idea anyway), growing up in a very mild part of the Netherlands and having moved to a comparetively chilly area. What I surely ‘missed’ this autumn, wind.

Gingko biloba in the park surely still had beautiful autumn colours last tuesday, while at the old hortus botanicus, leaves had gone already weeks ago.
Today leaves had gone, leaving just a lovely carpet.
 (Somehow the pictures are too big, description will have to do for now.

‘Dutch’ Crocus laevigatus ‘Fontenayi’ didn’t  care about cold before and even in buds I like it.
This one somehow escaped my attention when rearranging the big container.
709418-0

Jasmin

I hope your birds are getting better. Unfortunaly there are so many difficult situations with pets of neighbours, by some luck we ended op with Spots son on one side and her granddaugther the other way, not exactly next door but no other pets in between, just a neighbour she loves.

Robert

Maybe someone on the Crocus section has good ideas on species for your climate, I suspect that there could be some that would be happy in your garden, while pot cultivation is necessary here.
I think you mentioned little or no Crocus seeds some time ago, it wasn’t great here either. Had some lovely ones, but missed some of the ‘easier’ species, even in the park C. Tommassianus (dutch kind) wasn’t doing well last season.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2022, 08:38:48 PM 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.

Robert

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Re: December 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2022, 06:12:43 PM »
Hi Akke

Thank you for the recommendation concerning Crocuses. I actually enjoy being adventurous with plants. I am comfortable just trying different species and seeing what might work. Most of my dilemma is how to find different Crocus species for our garden. I only feel comfortable buying plants and seeds locally in the Sacramento and Placerville areas. I do purchase some seeds from Seedhunt, but I meet the owner many years ago when she worked at Western Hills Nursery – a nursery I felt comfortable doing business with. I know this limits my possibilities but then I want to live true to myself and do things in my comfort range. In this regard I admit that I am not adventuresome at all.

As for asking questions: I do not feel comfortable asking trivial questions. Other than some book knowledge, I am more or less ignorant concerning the Genus Crocus. People have more important things to do than answer my ignorant questions. I guess this is another one of my limitations, but I have never been comfortable being adventuresome socially. I was like this 50-60 years ago and I do not think things are going to change. Not much motivation in this department. I guess this is partly why I like farming and gardening. It is a great realm for an introvert.

Currently Jasmin is very busy, however I am sure at some point in the future she will fill you in on the birds and her impressions of our garden.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2022, 01:45:06 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

shelagh

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Re: December 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2022, 01:26:08 PM »
Brian reports only 23 degrees inside the greenhouse over night.
Shelagh, Bury, Lancs.

"There's this idea that women my age should fade away. Bugger that." Baroness Trumpington

Mariette

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Re: December 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2022, 09:02:03 PM »
I hope Your treasures will withstand this challenge, Shelagh! At least I´m glad that our greenhouse is kept frostfree. Last night temperatures dropped to -8°C, the same again right now! Rather unusual for this time of the year during the last 2 decades.

Akke

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Re: December 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2022, 05:18:22 PM »
Robert

The way you are experimenting with ornamentals and vegetables sounds adventurous enough to me. Also the way you use local plants, doesn’t really sound like the avarage gardener does. A bit more adventure perhaps?  And who knows what your local suppliers pick up?
Your local doesn’t sound huge, but to compare, The Netherlands is about ten times smaller than the state of California, guess that makes my ‘local’ not very big either.
I don’t think I’ve been very adventurous in mail-ordering, there’s lots of information on the forum, in my choice of species, I try to be a bit more adventurous.

On flowers and foliage.
709454-0
Just a little change of perspective, end of November this place this was mostly green. Soon after, Carpinus betulus (indiginous) turned a beautiful golden-yellow-orange, now making a lovely carpet, maybe caused by the strange wheather. Very mild (10C+) till halfway November, some frost, hardly any strong winds and more (-8C/-10C, official wheather station 10km SSE) frost last days.
Like Shelagh and Mariëtte, frost is early but at least not extreme.

Wish Jasmin all the best with and for the birds. Especially in this time of year, Spot really dislikes fireworks, I’m very aware that my dog feeling uncomfortable, makes me less comfortable too.








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: December 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2022, 08:50:20 PM »
Hi Akke

I surely enjoy your postings. I am glad that you have found time, occasionally, to share your container gardens and the borrowed scenery from the parks, and public spaces in your area. I definitely have a passion for the Genus Crocus. In addition, I have contentment growing the species and hybrids that I can find locally. I am truly fascinated by the range of species you show. As a side note, once again, all the Crocuses in our garden failed to set seed. I have tried many different methods without results. I will keep trying. I actually enjoy the experiments and the challenge. I do continue to grow some Crocus in containers. It is easier to control environmental conditions, thus perhaps solve part of the fertility issues with the various species I am fortunate to grow. I am very aware of aneuploidy in the Genus Crocus. However, this does not completely account for the fertility issues I am encountering.

I thought that your idea for me to post questions on the Crocus Thread of the Forum is excellent. In my last posting I expressed my uneasy feeling concerning this course of action. I have been able to clarify my feelings and now understand that I am uncomfortable with the inherent ambiguous nature of Social Media. For example, I realize that many of my questions concerning the Genus Crocus would be technical in nature. It is very ambiguous to me who represents a commercial interest and who is just an average gardener like me. For me it would be extremely rude and inappropriate to ask these questions to someone that has a commercial interest (“Hi, answer all these questions but I have no intention to buy anything from you”). In addition, it is very ambiguous to me how non-disclosure agreements and trade secrets are handled in Europe. In the U.S.A. this is a huge “mine field” that someone can stumble on, especially on the Internet. In the worst cases a completely innocent person can find themselves in big trouble. Read The Chaos Machine by Max Fisher and you will understand what I mean by all of this.

As for my being adventuresome with plants:



For me, flats of healthy transplants in soil blocks ready to plant out into the garden are beautiful. The Bianca Riccia Endive will be grown on to produce seed. Minutina is an interesting vegetable green. This is my first grow out in over 12 years. To be growing this vegetable again brings me great joy.



This flat contains various California native Clarkia and Diplacus species.



5th generation Erythranthe bicolor seedlings as well as advanced generation Ranunculus occidentalis hybrids are part of this flat.



This flat contains some holdovers of new seedling Salvia selections and hybrids of Salvia leucantha, S. gesneriiflora, S. sinaloensis, and S guaranitica.



This Salvia chiapensis seedling exhibited some interesting characteristics. I will grow it on to see what develops and perhaps use it to create new hybrids.
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: December 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2022, 08:53:36 PM »


I grew these Chickpeas, Cicer arietinum, from seed purchased at the grocery store (for eating not planting). It is like growing a land race! There is a huge genetic diversity in this population. Making improved selections out of this diversity will be great fun.



Red Lentils, Lens culinaris, are growing with more Chickpeas. These too were purchased at the grocery store. Jasmin and I enjoy eating Red Lentils, so selecting superior plants will be another enjoyable project.



Rossa di Trento Lettuce is growing with Frisee.



Sanguine Ameliore Lettuce is a favorite. I will be growing these on for seed.



Under the row covers the vegetables continue to grow well. I have a steady harvest of Spinach, Green Tatsoi, Pac Choi, and Russian Red Kale. This year I am finally in a position to continue my breeding project with my novel Golden Tatsoi. This variety added uniqueness to our salad mixes back in the days when we sold produce at the Farmers’ Market. Now I practice subsistence farming and have absolutely no intention of selling the fertility of our land. However, developing new varieties that fit into our sustainable subsistence food scheme needs our immediate and sustained attention.
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: December 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2022, 08:56:41 PM »


The winter blooming Salvia gesneriiflora has huge bright red flowers. This plant stands 2 meters tall and has many more flower trusses ready to open throughout the winter.



Many of the Meso-American – South American Salvia species are tender to varying degrees of frost. Even here in mild Sacramento I have to keep a watchful eye on some species. Right now some of the new hybrids that were recently planted out in the garden are covered with row cover in case it gets too cold.

It is all an adventure and brings me great pleasure! I certainly enjoy sharing my garden with others. I also enjoy seeing and learning about other gardens.

[Jasmin]:  “Thanksgiving is not so much a time of year as an attitude of the heart.”
     When I was young my mörmör gifted me her collection of sayings, and the habit of looking for wisdom.  The above is one of these gems.
     Depending on how one chooses to look at it, these past few months have been either the most harrowing, or the most blessed.
     As of now, I have only one bird I still must regularly treat and medicate.  Even this is a miracle, for Dariya was in such a state we thought she would die, and she was indeed close.  She is still far from cured and recovered, and needs a special diet and care, yet we are so thankful to have the blessing of her continued company.



     What this means is I get to sleep through the night!  None of the birds will need me to tend them every 4-5 hours!  No more injectable medicine, just oral!  This change will also impact the behavior issues I have had, namely aggressive biting and negative attention due to jealousy over my attention bestowed on others, not to mention territorial and hormonal aggression issues that I have not experienced at this particular level before.  I can see a time when I can finally include all this information in my bird care guide, although that time is not yet.
     To give you an idea of how frazzled I have been, when I first read that Shelagh’s greenhouse was 27, I thought how toasty.  It has been running around -1° C every morning here, and today there is freezing fog.




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: December 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2022, 08:59:32 PM »
It has been a time of exercising my mind, to focus on what matters, to not obsess and to practice forgiveness while still pursuing whatever legal means are necessary to deal with the neighbors and their dog.  Forgiveness does not mean there are no consequences for their ongoing behavior; rather, for me to maintain peace and clarity.  This is not easy, especially when the problems are ongoing.  Sadly, theirs is the only household with a chronic problematic dog behavior.  We have so many neighbors with dogs, many multiple dog households; yet, this is the only house where the dog is repetitively a problem, and the owners are repetitively disregardful.
     To achieve this, I have had to examine thoroughly my own self:  To acknowledge my grief, guilt (that I “failed” to protect the birds), terror and fear.  Dealing with the depth of my anger has been a great challenge:  While anger does provide the energy to deal with situations, unfortunately the “high” is quite addictive.  I have to continually ask myself what I truly want—my anger, or something else?  What kind of world do I want?

     I always compare these experiences to the compost pile:  layers of matter go in, and get stirred up.  With patience and practice, something useful and nurturing comes out.





  When Dariya was at her most fragile and seemed likely to die, it was difficult to “not let the ‘no-hopes’ win”.  I cried and prayed constantly.  My prayers are still constant.
     It helps to focus on what matters most to me, and celebrate all the myriad blessings:  a precious, supportive spouse, signs of the birds’ recovery, good books and literacy, and those material blessings such as running potable water, and an indoor flush toilet (the U.N. had World Toilet Day).
     During the Thanksgiving Day weekend, the neighbors and their dog were gone, and it was very peaceful.  We worked on the front garden strip closest to the property line early each morning, and Robert would continue while I tended the birds.  It was a good occasion to appreciate the beauty of our tools.




« Last Edit: December 18, 2022, 09:18:03 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: December 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2022, 09:02:58 PM »
     We decided to make a meal of mostly our home-grown produce, with some supplements that came from within California.  Robert has done most of the cooking and food preparation during this time.










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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