After the rain, before the deluge

What a difference a couple of days make. On Wednesday (October 20, 2021) we were still looking at a 215-day stretch without measurable precipitation. On Thursday (October 21, 2021) we finally received the first rain since March 20—just 0.19", but heck, I'll take anything. Friday brought another 0.19". That means the total for the current water year, which began October 1, now stands at 0.38". 

But things will really change on Sunday, October 24, when an atmosperic river, possibly category 5 (the strongest), will bring as much as 5 inches of rain in one day. As described in this SFGATE article, an atmospheric river is a “river of water vapor in the sky” that is “300 to 400 miles wide on average and maybe 500 to 1,000 miles long.” It can transport “25 times the water in the Mississippi River as vapor.” 

All of that sounds impressive, but also a bit frightening because of the potential for flooding. If we were to get 5" of rain tomorrow, that would be a full two thirds (!) of the 7.57" of rainfall we received during the 2020/2021 water year (October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021).

Taking advantage of a sunny spell between the initial rains a couple of days ago and the anticipated deluge tomorrow, I grabbed my big camera and took some random photos in the garden. There's no theme to these images—they're just quick grabs of whatever caught my eye—but they do represent a snapshot of the garden at this moment in time.

Agave fosteri, Acacia aphylla, Aloe marlothii

Salvia leucantha 'Danielle's Dream'
Mangave 'Black Magic'

Mangave 'Life on Mars', with Grevillea 'Austraflora Fanfare' working hard and fast to cover the ground around it

Agave 'Burnt Burgundy' and Grevillea nudiflora 'Medusa', another groundcover-type grevillea

Mangave 'Kaleidoscope' (the peek of blue behind it is a dwarf form of Agave palmeri)

Leucadendron 'Ebony' and Calliandra californica

Calliandra 'Sierra Star', a hybrid between the Baja fairy duster (Calliandra californica, see previous photo) and the regular fairy duster (Calliandra eriophylla)

Eucalyptus macrocarpa

Dudleya pachyphytum × caespitosa

Dudleya brittonii hybrid

Dudleya pachyphytum

Aloe erinacea

Hechtia argentea turning red

Steel tumbleweed stake

Red teddybear cholla (Cylindropuntia × campii)

Agave applanata 'Cream Spike'

Agave chiapensis and Mexican cardón (Pachycereus pringlei)

Cow's horn agave (Agave bovicornuta)

Ornamental banana (Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii')

NOID red-flowering Epiphyllum

NOID Tillandsia

Mangave 'Inca Warrior'

Dried inflorescence of Vriesea fosteriana

Macrozamia communis

And finally my constant companion, Stella, who is always by my side when I'm in the backyard

The next time I post, we might have received 4-5" of rain. Fingers crossed!

© Gerhard Bock, 2021. All rights reserved. To receive all new posts by email, please subscribe here.


  1. Great photo of Stella! So where is your Eucalyptus macrocarpa planted?

    1. Along the sidewalk, almost at the end of the long bed, roughly between Agave ovatfolia and Aloe 'Erik the Red'.

  2. Beautiful photos, including of course the shot of Stella. Your Leucadendron 'Jester' looks as dark as my 'Ebony' but maybe that's the impact of the light and significant sun exposure. I have 2 'Jesters', one in partial shade and one in full sun and they look very different. The Eucalyptus is interesting.

    I hope the rain is steady but doesn't come down all at once. That atmospheric river is now expected to reach us in LA tomorrow but its power will be greatly diminished. We're projected to get about 1/3rd of an inch. We got 0.02/inch yesterday.

  3. Oh Gerhard your Mangave 'Kaleidoscope' looks fantastic ! I transplanted mine into the ground this summer so I'm hoping it will have a better year-though it might be under water at the moment-we are over 6 inches precip for today so far.

    1. My 'Kaleidoscope' has been sooooo happy in this spot--full hot sun all day long in the summer. I've had it in two other spots before, with less sun, and it wasn't doing much there.

  4. 'An atmospheric river', that sounds very cool. I wonder if it will be all up the Pacific Coast. Lower Vancouver Island today got hammered with a ton of rain and wind today. We got 3" yesterday but the ground just sucked it right up. Not a puddle anywhere. Hopefully your garden will do the same without hurting any of the gorgeous plants.

    1. "Atmospheric river," "pineapple express," "bomb cyclone," the weather folks love words like that, LOL.

      My older daughter in Victoria keeps us apprised of the weather. She doesn't have a car, just a scooter, so she's out in the weather a lot :-).


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