It’s About Time

The rain has been good to our reservoirs

For the first time in several years our reservoirs are full. This is good news all around because it means that there has been a good rain year with higher than average snowpack in the mountains. Euphemistically called “lakes” by the Army Corps of Engineers, I always add “reservoir” to the names, as in “Dexter Lake Reservoir.”  Reservoirs are not the same water bodies as natural lakes and have distinctive ecological relationships worth remembering. Reservoirs built for flood control in the Willamette River watershed are subject to dramatic changes in water level every year. They are always drained low in the winter. Summer high water is unpredictable because of natural variation in winter precipitation.

Reports from botanists around the state emphasize that this is a banner year for flower watchers. Recovering from a long, cold, wet spell after a drought year seems to have brought on a frenzy of reproductive effort. The subalpine meadows are full of an incredible array of flowers blooming at the same time, as glorious as anyone can recall.

The long days of July give our gardens the boost needed after a slow start due to the cool spring. With proper attention to watering and feeding, vegetables will take off in a most satisfying fashion. The pole beans can be seen growing several inches every day. I am devoting a large bed to zinnias thanks to all the seeds germinating successfully. They were planted just as the soil warmed up, and always do better when started outside.

David Wagner is a botanist who works in Eugene. He teaches moss classes, leads nature walks and makes nature calendars. He can be contacted through his web site: