Winter Not At All

I learned this saying about San Diego, after moving there in early 1989 with my freshly minted college diploma:

Spring comes in summer,
summer comes in fall,
fall comes in winter,
and winter not at all. *

Photos from 1/2014 in San Diego and La Jolla, visitng my Aunt Dora. I hope they help warm you up –

my morning coffee ready, as I opened the curtains
staghorn ferns from 25+ years ago, but larger
where lemons grow on trees
north from her property…San Clemente Canyon / CA-52 freeway

Chaparral above, and below along the arroyo (even periodic running water when everything is right), California sycamores and some coast live oaks. That scene is typically greener in January, but the evergreen of toyons, cactus, lemonade berry and shrub live oaks add much.

just a January’s early morning coffee, outside…rough

It’s interesting how close mean annual tempeartures are in El Paso (64.2F) and San Diego (63.2F), but how that happens is so different. (* i.e. the opening quote) Both are 32N latitude and both metro areas are bounded on the south by the Mexican border. Both are dry, with El Paso (8.6″) getting most of it’s rain in the late summer monsoon season, and San Diego (10.1″) getting most of it’s rain in the cool season.

* source: Western Regional Climate Center

Pinus pinea, pruned by salty ocean winds and little irrigation
Ficus nitida (or F. microcarpa?) happy in a Zone 24 lawn
even aerial roots, but probably no longer alive
my last day, Streletzia reginae in bloom…January

It hit a pleasant but toasty 87F, as I enjoyed moving some agave pups and drip emitters to spruce up part of her front yard.

Windansea Beach, the famous shack, and views are something to behold.

Some local coworkers while I lived there bristled when I suggested adding palm trees at various beach access points…one said I should move to Hawaii! So naturally, I like this solo Washingtonia palm with the agaves, perfect with the palapa and ocean view. Simple and fairly regional, even Agave americana is native to far-away parts of Mexico…the same nation is minutes south.

Would changing that grouping to local Yucca schidigera and Agave shawii help?

But imagine what this planting could be, if someone we know in Oregon designed it. Only 1 species of Agave? Ha! Freeway iceplant? Tsk.

just another day in La Jolla (or San Diego)
I wish I could post my videos of here…maybe on my old blog
Winter not at all…surf’s up!

8 Replies to “Winter Not At All”

  1. I have only ever visited San Diego (never lived there) and I’ll admit it readily. To a visitor the charms are many, including the lovely weather. I remember my first day there on a sunny day in late Spring realizing with a shock that I was out in the full sunlight and still wanted my light jacket. Toto – we were sure not in Kansas any more!

    I remember my parents coming to visit me and for a family event, and my dad saying as we went outside in the cool, damp fog of morning, “this is just like Morocco in June…except your snails are smaller”. A different world…part unheated terrarium.


  2. Wishing I could head back sooner than later. My trouble with the palms is I like the ones that cause the most mess, or the ones that are expensive/time consuming to strip, etc. The baja native plants are awesome. And I am a sucker for the foreign introductions. Best to stay put where I wouldn’t get spoiled.

    Hopefully, I can make a trip this winter spring summer…but who knows? They are in a climatic sweet-spot, at least different areas, and the mix of coast – Baja – desert there is amazing. So glad people are going that way more my last visits than 20+ years ago. Maybe all can be spoiled, once we get into our local plants used well?


  3. The little verse is perfect! And as Frank said it can get a little boring. That said I would move back in a heart beat. Because while the weather in town might be a bit redundant, in 30 min. you can be at the beach, half hour or so depending where you live you can be in Baja, Mexico, an hour or so to the mountains (which had snow just the other week) and hour and a half to the dessert. Now that is variety! I spent years hiking most every different one of these areas and I was never bored. So, oh how you make me homesick with these photos! Going in March to visit my Mom who still lives in SD and then spend a few days in Laguna Beach and thinking to drive to the Huntington gardens for a day.
    It is interesting how the proximity to the ocean changes a climate. While at the Berkeley Botanical gardens this year I came across the term Fog Desert. I shared what I learned in the blog . Here on the Gulf Coast we get quite a lot more rain but areas like Galveston the same idea applies during the long hot summers. Happy New Year!

    That is a variety and I enjoyed that so much, though as I get older, I’m seasoned out! Must be 10 years in Colorado and 4 in Oklahoma… For me, I was always drawn to the mountains and desert there, so I guess I moved to the right place. Thanks for your fog desert link, I missed that one…very good.


  4. San Diego is always so nice and the contrast with our currently freezing winter is a good treat today.

    It’s gray and chilly here, but we skated again on missing the brunt…high 20’s and 30’s are the lows even up to Abq, not that 42F for 30 minutes and a stiff wind from Canada had me wishing I didn’t have to work.

    I should post something from summer…that’ll heat it up!


  5. I feel warmer just looking at the photos, thanks, Frances

    Very good! My comfort there is they wear wetsuits to surf, and bougainvilleas are hard to prune…


  6. Did I tell you we spent our anniversary there the week before Christmas? It was lovely, absolutely gorgeous. Still, more agaves would have been nice…

    No, but I wondered if you went somewhere…congrats to you and the Mr. Any pics and places to share in some future post? Yes, to think what *they* can do w/ agaves, etc…only crazy furnace-climate plants like saguaros and palo verdes can’t grow there.


  7. What a beautiful area! Thanks for the tour.

    You bet, and there’s something to be said of a place where a “cold day” really means “too cold to spend all day at the beach.”


  8. I lived there for a couple of years. No doubt it’s a paradise of sorts. One thing happened when I moved there from El Paso( where I’ve spent most of my life). I missed the seasonal changes. I’m back in El Paso and anticipate the cold when it’s hot and vice versa. While the climate in San Diego is nothing short of perfect, it’s boring in that sense. I still love going there whenever I get the chance. Also I found that I appreciate it alot more as a visitor than a resident. I also find myself longing to return to the mountains of home.

    Well-said on SD being a paradise of sorts, mostly off the whole hectic CA grid, and mild for plants and people. Seasons – yes, imagine me moving from college in OK and parents in Denver (those places get crazy seasons), to San Diego. I lost perspective on time with 3 seasons, chilly Junes, and shopping outdoors at 90F for Christmas. Maybe better to visit. Their mountains and desert are nice, but those in NM and far west TX are equal, and to yourself if you know when/where to go.


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