La Niña watch begins

After 16.36* inches of rain recorded for downtown Los Angeles from June 2009-June 2010, ocean conditions indicate a transition from the mildly wet El Niño system that gave Southern California a slightly better than average rainfall year to a dry La Niña one, according to the National Weather Service. An experimental and unofficial outlook map set issued by its Climate Prediction Center lays out a hot and dry 2010/11. Jet Propulsion Laboratory oceanographer Bill Patzert is already betting on a dry La Niña 2010/11 season. “Two years of El Niño are just such a low probability,” he said. “Six out of ten years are dry. I wish I had those odds in Vegas.” For those who think in terms of “normal” rainfall for Los Angeles, he added, “Normal is a cycle on a washing machine.”

*From the NWS California Nevada Forecast Center. NWS Los Angeles / Oxnard records …

The Dry Garden: Meet the natives

It’s only February, but bestirred by rain and gathering days, California lilacs are blooming, manzanitas are bedecked with bells and irises are pent up for a March explosion. It doesn’t just feel like spring, it is spring in Southern California. So, if you are considering a dry garden for your home, now is the time to meet the natives. This is the moment to go to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont. Click here to keep reading The Dry Garden in the Los Angeles Times.

For listings of courses, hikes, plant sales and projects for Southern Californian dry gardeners, click here for a February calendar, and here for a March one.