“Winter’s done, and April’s in the skies,
Earth, look up with laughter in your eyes!”
~ Charles G. D. Roberts, An April Adoration, 1896
We have all heard the rhyme, “April showers bring May flowers.” This year I am thinking beyond just “May flowers.” After last summer, I waved my white flag of surrender to the aphids, mildew, rust spots and the myriad of problems that plague roses, and out they came with the exception a few hardy white “iceberg” ones.
So now what shall I plant in the bare rose garden? The answer came to me last fall at the Dish in La Cañada. Alongside their parking lot, hidden deeply amidst flowers, vines and plants, were splashes of orange – pumpkins! So you can guess what may replace those old roses.
Pumpkins are thirsty plants requiring a great deal of watering and with rain totals below normal this year this may not be a good idea. May have to reconsider this one, even though the NWS predicts the showers of April to continue…
A couple of low pressure systems began to move in early Wednesday morning bringing gusty winds, 90% chance of rain, snow to the local mountains and much colder temperatures (hard to believe it reached into the 80s just a few days ago!). These conditions are expected to continue into Saturday. I’m looking forward to the final totals from these storms.
We are at a crucial point of the year when every raindrop is counted for soon it will be the end of the 2011-12 rain season. The familiar rhyme of April showers and May flowers may date back to the 1500s, but scientifically speaking it is timeless and fundamental. The appearance of flowers and other plants have several contributing factors.
Rain. Increased levels of moisture in the soil help plants to grow faster and healthier. Water helps deliver nutrients to the roots to optimize absorption.
Temperature. As the days grow warmer, plants find it easier to grow. As soil thaws and the threat of frost is gone, plants are genetically programmed to grow.
Wildlife. Springtime brings back the animals, birds and insects that left in the winter. The now-renewed ecosystem provides nourishment for new plants, as there is a lot of eating and being eaten going on producing organic material and natural fertilizer. Insects buzzing through the gardens pollinate and in turn help plants reproduce. Add rain – perfect!
With rumbles of thunder and a hard hailstorm, the deadline approaches…
My final weather update: a total of one inch of rain has fallen thus far from the present storms. It will be dry and cool as the paper arrives on Thursday morning. Then another colder storm is predicted to arrive by evening with more rain and mountain snow for the Crescenta Valley that will stay through Friday. A warm and dry trend is forecast for the weekend.
So far, next week looks consistent with highs in 70s and low around 50. Good gardening weather … pumpkins?