The transition from summer to fall is very fluid here in the western Sacramento Valley. It’s not like you wake up one morning and it’s autumn all of a sudden. Instead, it’s a drawn-out process, full of false starts. In recent weeks, we’ve been swinging between 95°F and 70°F degree days, often with no transition, just to veer towards the 90s again.
On Saturday evening, though, we had an epic thunderstorm that might have marked the beginning of fall. We rarely get thunderstorms so lightning is always something special. And Saturday night was epic. Virtually nonstop thunder and lightning for over an hour. In the 18 years I’ve lived in Davis, I can’t remember anything quite like it. And for about 45 minutes we got rain. Not the weepy drizzle we had earlier in the week. A real honest-to-goodness gully washer. It cleaned the cars in the street, the solar panels on the roof and the plants in exposed areas.
On Sunday morning, for the first time in a long time, I felt the urge to putter around outside. I didn’t do much, but I did remove a few plants that had died in the infernal furnace of the 2015 summer: a Canary island sow thistle (Sonchus congestus) I bought at Annie’s Annuals last fall, and the Leucospermum ‘Scarlet Ribbon’ I brought home from the Ruth Bancroft Garden nursery in February. The latter one really hurt, but I hadn’t been certain it would make it this spot anyway.
Dead Leucospermum ‘Scarlet Ribbon’ (left) and Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), now removed