This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

December 24, 2016

The Christmas rains of Phoenix, Arizona

It doesn't rain much in the Phoenix, Arizona area, but when it does, it's as regular as clockwork. Here in the Sonoran Desert, we get thunderstorms in the summer, and what I call "Christmas Rains" in late December.

The Christmas rains are wonderful. They're soft and gentle and last for a long time, unlike the violent "Flash Flood" thunderstorms of summer. They're great for the garden.

It's been raining pretty steadily since late morning, and it's starting to form "Hall Lake" there where the gutter drains the water away from the house. Even though it rains very little overall when it rains here, I want to be sure that the drainage is correct, and that the water flows away from the house, and into the garden. The artificial turf, by the way, is perforated, so the water goes through through it, and percolates down into the ground, giving some nice deep watering to my trees. If this were all hardscape, that wouldn't happen, and that would be a shame. Water is precious in the desert!

The rain is very gentle, and as you can see in the photo, it's barely gotten the patio wet a few inches in. This isn't a violent rain, it's soft. I'm listening to the sound of it right now, and it's wonderful.

Like all responsible homeowners, I've made sure that my yard holds the rainwater that the lot was designed to do. It flows away from the patio, puddles over there in the Outback, and then if it gets to be too much, it flows around the side of the house, deep waters my trees in the front, and then if it gets to be way too much (which rarely happens in December but does often in August), it flows out into my street, into a flood detention basin a few blocks southwest of me, and then into the Agua Fria River, the Gila River, and on to the Gulf of California. I like to think of the raindrops in my yard making it to the ocean. I know that a lot of them do!

Luckily, I have no place to go today. And the people who wanted to play golf today will just have to wait - it'll clear up! In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the Christmas rains.
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