Busy week, weather-wise, democracy-wise. There was a sweet piney scent to the air the morning of the 19th, which meant the wind had shifted and was coming from the east. I smelled it before checking the weather vane, which confirmed it, and instantly knew the Santa Anas were back in town. I’ve never been a fan of fierce winds, but it seemed right in character for Tuesday, that sweeping change was literally in the air.
Instigating the strong winds and wildfires was a wave of low pressure scooting down the Golden State coastline and intensifying offshore. Counterclockwise winds around the area of low pressure channeled cool air southwestward over the crest of the Sierra Nevada, accelerating it downhill with gusts in spots topping hurricane force, or 74 mph. Reinforcing it was high pressure over the Great Basin of Nevada, which provided a pressure gradient — or change of air pressure with distance — that boosted winds blowing from land to sea, or offshore. —Powerful Santa Ana wind event kindles January wildfires in California
The battering wind smacked doors shut in the house. Instead of my usual Santa Ana wind jitters, the sound of doors slamming was oddly reassuring on Tuesday…
This morning the sky is rich with portents of rain. And a fairly good chance of rain too, according to forecasts.
I’ve been tinkering with the new rocky area plantings that went in on Election Day and tightening up associations. Agave geminiflora ‘Leaping Lizards’ was planted yesterday to strengthen the theme of linear and grassy leaves, hoping to avoid the plant rummage sale look (if that’s even possible for me!) I like how the thread-leaf variegated agave and Agave bracteosa ‘Monterrey Frost’ can hold a conversation on the thickness and thinness of leaves, on variegated back lighting, in a similar rosette form.
My eye immediately wants to compare and contrast how the two agaves differ, so there’s a discerning link made with a continuity of shape — but obviously I’m making the effort to find some coherence!
Agave geminiflora was moved to the tall cylindrical pot and brought in close to strengthen associations with other spiky outlines like the two Yucca rostrata. The variegated Carex ‘Feather Falls‘ are meant to echo the variegated squid agaves. At ground level (other than calamint), I’m trying to avoid anything deciduous or winter-dormant — the newly planted and deciduous Euphorbia cotinifolia tree is another exception. Instead of winter-dormant grasses I’m planting restios and carex. But it’s all very young and frustratingly theoretical at the moment!
I just might be able to get the myrtillocactus in the ground before the rain arrives, but first must find the thickest pair of gloves we own. I don’t know about you, but I find it so invigorating to take even a brief break from doomscrolling that I’m restless to tackle something like these “floral-inspired fossils,” using bits from my own garden.
Have a great weekend!