All over town, trees have been uprooted. Some fell simply because the soil was so soft that it could no longer contain their weight. Others were "helped" by gusts that locally exceeded 60 miles an hour. And there's no end in sight. Rain is in the forecast every day this week.
When we were begging for rain last summer, little did we know what we would get. It was naive to think we would simply have a "normal" winter with "normal" rainfall. Much like politics, Mother Nature seems to have veered off into extremism.
On the weekend, my wife and I checked out the damage at the UC Davis Arboretum. Quite a bit of cleanup has already been done--often you can only tell that a tree went down by the large gap it left behind. Still, there was plenty of recent damage as you will see below. But there were also signs of spring, like several acacia trees starting to flower. I can't wait to see what floral splendor all this rain might produce in a month or two.
The first downed tree we saw was near the Acacia Grove. It was a big one--a conifer I wasn't able to identify.
It's canopy must have been incredibly heavy--and hence its downfall, literally.
I love approaching the Acacia Grove from the west, especially when you see this beacon of yellow through the oak trees:
This is a pearl acacia, or Queensland silver wattle (Acacia podalyriifolia), one of my favorite species.
The sweet smell of the flowers was intoxicating.
Right near it, this hairy wattle (Acacia vestita) is starting to bloom:
Most other acacias are still weeks away from flowering--another sign that spring is delayed this year.
A mature Wyalong wattle (Acacia cardiophylla) went down not far from the pearl acacia you saw above.
I hope they will plant a replacement soon.
The new $17 million Ann E. Pitzer Center, a state-of-the-art recital hall for the music department, has a row of newly planted clumping bamboos. They look like Bambusa multiplex, all green. and possibly 'Golden Goddess'. This should be a beautiful green screen against the concrete wall in a few years' time.
Miscanthus sinensis along Lake Spafford is the very embodiment of the "winter interest" always ascribed to ornamental grasses:
Small grove of cork oaks (Quercus suber):
Another tree I like a lot, Santa Cruz Island ironwood (Lyonothamnus floribundus subsp. aspleniifolius). This beautiful evergreen tree grows natively on Santa Cruz Island and two other Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara. Even though it comes from a climate much more moderate than inland Davis, this little grove looks very healthy and happy.
I don't usually take photos of animals, mostly because I don't have the right equipment and patience, but here are two quick grab shots from Sunday. Do you see the pair of snowy egrets facing each other in the trees?
Here's a close up of one of them. Usually we see them in the rice fields but I guess they do sit in trees, too.
Here is a photo of one of three river otters (Lontra canadensis) we saw:
And of course there are ducks near the creek:
The Australian Collection has seen some damage too:
And some heavy pruning:
Check out the same grevillea back in November:
I'm not sure you can prune grevilleas this hard:
More downage and sawage:
Now we're at the "official" entrance to the Arboretum, the Arboretum GATEway Garden. All the plants in this area are native not only to California, but to our county (Yolo).
In the fall of 2013, more than 25,000 perennials and grasses were planted on what used to be an unloved barren strip behind the Davis Commons shopping center. They've finally come into their own and look attractive even in the winter.
The official "portal" to the Arboretum is an archway sculpture made of more than 400 old shovels donated by local gardeners:
It's become a much photographed landmark. Kids, in particular, are magically drawn to the sculpture, maybe because there's so much to touch.
I'm very happy that the Arboretum is now seamlessly tied into the downtown core, making it easy to walk from Davis Commons (aka the Whole Foods shopping center) all the way to the western end of the Arboretum and back, a 3.1 mile paved loop trail.
Here is a handy map of the entire UC Davis Arboretum: