First rain of the season

The first rain of the season is a hotly anticipated event by most gardeners in our area. After four or five months of sunny skies and zero precipitation, we thirst for a good drenching that washes away the dust and dirt and allows us to turn off the sprinklers and drip irrigation.

This year’s first rain arrived about two weeks early according to the weather experts, but we take what we can get. The heavy downpours forecast in the news didn’t happen. What we got is a gentle and at times steady rain, but I much prefer that anyway. Sunny weather will return starting tomorrow, so I thought I’d take a few snaps of and in the rain before it goes away again.

Our flagstone walkway looks so much better when it’s wet. The color really comes out.
Dramatic miniature rainscape on a patio table. Reminds me a little of the aerial shots of the Sacramento Valley rice fields I took in the summer.
Texas tuberose (Manfreda maculosa) and Eldorado grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Eldorado')
Texas tuberose (Manfreda maculosa) and blue fescue (Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue')
Golden lotus banana (Musella lasiocarpa)
Dwarf Cavendish banana (Musa acuminata cv. 'Dwarf Cavendish’). The white dots are rain drops illuminated by the camera flash.
Agave lophantha ‘Quadricolor’
Yucca recurvifolia ‘Margaritaville’
Echeveria subsessilis
Echeveria subsessilis closeup. The raindrop looks like a precious gemstone.
Aeonium ‘Catlin Hybrid’
Some of my potted cacti in the pouring rain. Soon I’ll have to rig up a rain cover for them so they’ll stay dry during the winter.

Just as I was getting ready to submit this post, we had a minor gully washer, giving me the chance to take some photos from inside the house. I love the painterly effect shooting through wet windows produces. Makes me appreciate having a dry place when it’s pouring outside.

Crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) across the street
Dixieland grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Dixieland’) in our front yard
Baby blue bamboo (Bambusa chungii ‘Barbellata’) in front of our house


  1. Beautiful! I think this was the first year that I knew how you felt about the rain. Our hot, dry summer made the long-overdue rain in September so much more of an event.

    I really need to try more yuccas. I know they like to be transplanted in the fall, so maybe this is the time for me to get a few.

  2. Alan, many people don't really know what it's like to live without rain for so long. We virtually never have rain in the summer.

    Yuccas are awesome; as Debra Lee Baldwin said in her talk at Succulent Gardens on Saturday, they will be the next big thing in drought-tolerant plants. Few succulents are as cold-hardy as yuccas. This includes Yucca rostrata - hardy to zone 5 and one of the most stunning succulents of all!

  3. Great photos Gerhard! Love the beads of glass on the banana leaves and the echeveria jewels! I can never grow a banana tree. I have absolutely no shade (no trees). So it burns up in the summer and winter it freezes.

    Thanks for the great info on the spiral aloe. Based on your information I really need to put it in a new pot. I have two wine barrels. One is taken up by echeverias the other has a few straggling succulents. Only problem is I can't take it in the garage over winter. Won't it freeze?

  4. Candy, our problem is that we have too much shade. I'd grow a lot more succulents, esp. in the backyard, if only we had more sun.

    Spiral aloe is very hardy as far as aloes go. Mine has been outside for the past two winters and it wasn't fazed. In its native habitat in the Drakensberg Mountains where it grows at 6000 ft. and above it regularly gets covered with snow. San Marcos Growers says it's hardy to 5-10°F.


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