Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring & Summer Moisture

Last night there was a very gentle rain that lingered for only a short time. It announced the coming of spring and the dry months ahead. 

The peach, plums, plumcots, and quinces are the early-blooming fruit trees in my garden; the first to announce spring is here, no matter how briefly before the yearly drought of summer. Even a gentle rain can affect the pollination and bring disease such a fire blight and scab. So I watch the clouds dissipate and the fog slip back to the shoreline so the sun can dry the flowers to prevent such diseases of fruit trees. The warm, sunny days also bring forth pollinating bees (what few are left) and insects that flutter about in the warmth of the sun and "do their thing". 

The rain was typical for late winter, the roads were wet along my lane, but the asphalt was dry beneath the larger trees. The shadows of dryness follow light mists and gentle rains. In the dry times of the summer, the pattern is reversed. Fog laden with moisture often roll up the hills to my house and the trees 1200 feet above the ocean. The trees gather the fog and condense the moisture into "rain". Then the roads in the open, next the to meadows, are dry and the lane is wet with "rain" beneath the larger, taller trees. 

Many people assume only the roots absorb moisture for the plant's growth. Not always true. Both spring rains and summer fog drip directly feed the needles of the nearby redwoods. It has been discovered that the stomata under the leaf can actually absorb tiny amounts of moisture. This amazing process is but one part of the puzzle about how the forest surrounding my home passes through each summer's dry cycle.

More to follow on future postings.

I'd like to hear about the special micro climates at your home and in the garden. 

Please post a comment - I want to know what you think.

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