Paeonia mascula

Mary Sue Ittner
Thu, 07 Apr 2011 16:15:45 PDT
I wish I knew why I lost these plants in the ground. I'd much rather 
grow them there than in containers. My soil is mostly sandy, low 
nutrient, acidic which allows me to grow many California native, 
South African, and Australian shrubs as well. There is rarely 
standing water from our rainfall except in one spot of my garden and 
then is usually soaks in by the next day. But we do get a fair amount 
of rainfall, mostly between November and February although this year 
we had a lot of rain in March. Being on a ridge we also get more 
rainfall than people do a mile away closer to the ocean. It's because 
of the rain that we have so many trees. We get a lot more rain than 
the Bay Area and probably more total than Seattle.

When we first moved here the 8 year average rainfall was 65 inches 
(165.10 centimeters), but we've had some drought years so now it is 
down to 50 inches (127cm). In El Nino years we experienced 90 to 100 
in. (228.6-254cm). We usually have no rain at all between May or June 
and September-October and the months on the edge of the rainy season 
are very low rainfall. We do have summer fog and I understand plants 
can soak up moisture through their leaves from it. So yes, we get a 
lot more rain than British Columbia and the San Francisco Bay area. 
The plants I can grow successfully are not the same ones people grow 
in southern California.

 From discussing climates with Lauw in France I learned that when it 
rains there is not the same times it rains here even though he too 
has a Mediterranean climate. So what is the speculation, too wet in 
winter, too dry in summer, soil problems? I continued to water the 
Peonia plants in containers until they started to dry out. Plants in 
the ground in my garden are very dry in summer. The plants in 
containers were rained on. I moved them to the shade when they went 
dormant and the trees probably shelter them a bit from the rain, but 
they were still outside.

Mary Sue

Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers 

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