|El Nino playing it coy with a rainbow before a winter storm.|
El Nino has come through these parts big time thrice since I've lived here in the High Mojave Desert of SoCal. In the 80s, I recall heavy rains and a bumper crop of tumbleweed. Living on a hill, the yard began to slide down the cul-de-sac. In the late 90s, it was a real doozy: long and violent seasons with thunderstorms, monsoons and floods. Being a military family, we actually had lived in hurricane locations, and I recognized the storms of the 90s were definitely tropical storms at the very least. I recall coming home one night from grad school--and as we live in a valley, we have a big sky--and the lightning looked like someone was playing ping pong with it. There was so much standing water, we jokingly called them Lake Central and Lake Kiowa, after the streets they engulfed. Then came the wildflowers (the good part of El Nino) and the mold, weeds and rodents (the bad parts of El Nino.) More of the yard slid down the hill.
|Slowly down the run-off.|
|Not a giant gopher--just me.|
Then, as our yard is a Certified Wildlife Habitat and Butterfly Garden,
|Rich, mulchy 3 year-old berm--notice the mint taking over!|
|Filling in the gaps.|
|Iris-functional and lovely.|
|Prelim veg patch.|
|Beginning a berm with roadrunner approval.|
Climate change in general means drought here in Cali. The natural berms, et al, are vibrant, growing parts of the yard that discourage fire. That's the big threat here. I'm considering creating a hugelkultur, meaning hill culture or hill mound http://www.inspirationgreen.com/hugelkultur.html . That keeps in the moisture. All the garden creatures would love it.
It may seem that Californians are so obnoxious bragging about the warm weather, but too many sunny skies brought the drought that created epic fires over the last several years. Hoping El Nino will change that.