After last year's incredible Southern California superbloom, wildflowers are rather sparse.
We received some extreme cold here recently, which did a number on a lot of things, I lost plants that I never lose.
A farmer neighbor says that sumac damage is like a canary in a coal mine for him, an indicator warning that things are getting to old.
My other farmer friend thinks that the cold may have weakened the plants and allowed them to get stressed and infected by something. I don't know, outside of my pay grade. But it is certainly unusual.
We have had the thermometer drop to 11º in our river valley before, protracted periods around 14º f in the early morning hours. Not sure how cold it got this year but I think it is the timing of the cold that has hurt the flowers. Odd microclime, there are many areas of Fallbrook that never drop below 32 º.
I have seen years where the frost was so bad and the avocados were hit so hard that you would swear that they could never come back but they do. Thankfully, nature is resilient.
Remember I planted the four hundred gladiolus last year? Looks like about half are coming back up. Not sure if it is the gophers or what. Will try to not cut off too many of the remaining survivors when I fire up the weed eater this afternoon.
The echiums are also starting to bloom, well, everyone else's, mine will be a little late as usual.
It will be a good year, if a bit subdued.