Today has been the weirdest day.

I woke up to the sound of a gully washer, followed less than an hour later by sunshine and dramatic skies. Before I finished my 2nd cup of coffee, the sun was gone, obscured by clouds so dark that I considered turning on the light. Lightning and thunder were next, and then the clouds opened up again, but what poured forth wasn’t rain but hail. It only lasted for a couple of minutes, but it was the most intense hail storm I had ever seen. Knowing that the hail stones would melt very quickly, I grabbed my camera and headed outside to document this unusual event.

Now, an hour and a half later, there’s no trace it ever happened (except for the pile near the key lime, see below), the sun is shining, and I just saw a hummingbird flutter by outside.

Silly me, I thought today was May 15th, but apparently it’s still April.

Hail on roof
Violets (Viola odorata), Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra), and potted squid agave (Agave bracteosa) in back yard
This could be a photo of the first snow fall of the season (if it ever snowed here)
Raised vegetable beds
Succulent display table
A whole avalanche of hail shooting off the roof and collecting next to our potted key lime
Variegated maiden hair grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Silberpfeil’) outside the front yard fence
Trailing ice plant (Delosperma cooperi), looking decidedly more forlorn than usual
Agave desmettiana ‘Variegata’
Agave lophanta ‘Quadricolor’
Puya coerulea var. violacea

While hail damage was minimal overall, some plants were affected. (Click here for an update.)

Karly Rose fountain grass (Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose’) looking decidedly less perky than the other day
Siskiyou Pink gaura (Gaura lindheimeri 'Siskiyou Pink') looks a tad flattened, too
Echeveria bifida var. metallica showing cosmetic damage—darker green is showing where the purplish metallic skin was punctured
This is a Euphorbia x martinii, one of the woody spurges. Like all euphorbias, its sap is a milky latex-like substance that is irritating to some people. It looks like the hail stones must have hit the plant hard enough to release some of the sap because the entire plant is dotted with white drops of latex. None of our other woody spurges show this kind of damage.

5/20/2011: Click here for a hail damage update.


  1. Hey, your 'Karley Rose' looks like mine now! ;-)

    Sorry to see the damage -- you don't get hail during growing season normally?

  2. Alan, frankly, I can't remember the last time we had hail--or a thunderstorm for that matter. Aside from strong winds, we really don't get violent weather all that often.

    The damage is so minor, I'm not concerned.


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