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December Planting

Mt Diablo with Snow

Mt Diablo with Snow

A post about the weather! Or is it about climate? Hopefully climate.

People don’t usually think about snow in the Bay Area, but we do get occasional dustings of snow, especially on the peaks Mt. Diablo, Mt. Tam, and Mt. Hamilton. This past weekend was one of the bigger snowfalls that I can remember, and a garden we planted two weeks ago actually got some accumulation. It was melted by the time I saw the garden today (that’s not me in the photo, we’re just doing plants and irrigation for this yard), two days after the storm, but Mt. Diablo, nearby, was still showing more snow than I’ve ever seen on it. It apparently got 18 inches at the summit, and was even skiable.

This was the first time one of our plantings has had snowfall. Maybe not a big deal to gardeners in other areas, but it caught me by surprise. The snow didn’t seem to hurt the new plants, and a different planting we put in last week on our side of the hills was also unaffected. Slightly spooky to show up and find ice on the ground four days after putting in new plants. Night time lows were 22 on Mt. Diablo and 28 on our side of the hills, which is 6 degrees above the 20 year lows for those spots. Correa ‘Dusky Bells’ (Australian Fuchsia) in the garden that got down to 28 degrees would have probably been the most likely candidate to suffer this year — it’s only hardy to 20 degrees, the plants are in bloom, and they can be fussy about transplanting — but they didn’t flinch. That’s about as tender of a plant as we put in the ground this time of year, and we’ve done December plantings the last 5 years without having any casualties from frost. We’re probably getting a bit blasé, actually, but at this point it seems like any losses would be confined to specific plants, knock on wood.

Mt Diablo

Mt Diablo, one week before Thanksgiving

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4 Responses to “December Planting”

  1. December 10th, 2009 at 2:19 am

    Carol says:

    What a beautiful vista! Lovely stone work too. Carol

  2. December 10th, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Town Mouse says:

    18 inches! That’s pretty amazing. Well, down here, no snow, of course, though I had to use a piece of wood to break the ice on the birdbath (usually my finger will do).
    I’ve found some of the Channel Island species, especially Galvezia speciosa, suffer in the frost. But so far, everything has always recovered.

  3. December 10th, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Susie says:

    Beautiful! We had snow on the local mountains here too, probably more tonite.

  4. December 12th, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    ryan says:

    C – Yep It’s a great view, and will be even nicer looking out over the low stone wall.
    TM – We had ice too at our house, though no snow. I haven’t noticed any plants suffering. Our galvezias didn’t mind, though I could imagine them not liking it.
    S- Your local mountains are a lot bigger than ours, I think. They’re real pretty when they have snow.

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