Here in San Francisco, our weather reporters make much from small changes. Tomorrow, they may say, will be clear after morning fog, with slightly cooler than average temperatures. The next day will be the same but maybe a little breezy. The past few weeks have given them a little more to talk about. First it was hot. This happens a few times each spring and summer, but the first heat spell of spring is the plant killer. The days are almost at their longest, the plants that grow most in in the spring have lots of young, tender growth, or maybe they are covered with flowers. And the soil is drying. This spring the soil was particularly dry, since we have had no rain for some weeks. Then we had those hot days. Was it only two? I witnessed a beautiful rhododendron, in a shady site on the north side of a house, with beautiful balls of pink flowers go from that to a plant covered with sad, withering flowers, in the course of one afternoon. My own cinerarias suffered, with some, in a part of the garden that was driest, wilting so that the purple daisies never recovered. I watered all afternoon.
Then came the wind. It was so windy last week in the College garden that I thought better of transplanting the chayotes (finally) into their spots by the new arbor. OK, I'll do it next week. They are looking good, though, waiting in the wings, in the lathe house, but I think so much wind would have caused them to wilt.
And then, last Saturday, rain! What a surprise, after many dry weeks. We had only a little rain in San Francisco, but maybe there was more in other parts of the Bay Area. The snails stayed out in full view in the morning rain, allowing a very good snail hunt. The lettuce and arugula were nicely crisp. The garden seems to appreciate a rain more than a watering. But the bigger surprise is the snow in the mountains. Ten inches in the Sierra, at the end of May!
Today we are back to seasonally mild weather, followed by a foggy evening. A good day for gardening.
I don't know if it is due to the dry mid spring, or to what, but I am seeing more lady beetles than usual this spring. I rarely garden for more than a few minutes without seeing one or maybe more. And in my camera is a photo of a soldier beetle, another aphid eater. I will try to get it into the next post.