Justin Powell 1 p.m., Dec. 13
Wind, Mexican Coral Trees, and Ornamental Peach Trees
March Is the Proverbial Windy Month here in San Diego, as it is in many places. From midday to late afternoon, sun-warmed air expands and rises over the county's interior, drawing in an influx of cool air from the coast to replace it. These afternoon sea breezes will continue at peak strength until well into the summer, providing dependable conditions for such sports as sailing, kite flying, and para-sailing.
Mexican Coral Trees or "naked corals," are showing their stuff this season by bearing and baring scarlet, flame-like flowers on the tips of their twisting, leafless branches. Commonly planted as park and freeway landscaping, this and other species of coral are blooming along Freeway 94, Interstate 5 through Oceanside, along Harbor Drive near the airport, at the San Diego Zoo, on the lawns in front of San Diego City College downtown, and on the San Diego State University campus. The bloom may continue into late spring, when the naked corals will cover themselves with eight-inch-long leaves, just in time to provide shade for the warm months.
Ornamental Peach Trees, radiant white and pink blossoms, are lighting up the manicured landscape around Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street in Balboa Park. These and other "stone-fruit" trees, with and without edible fruits, belong to the genus Prunus. Several native Prunus species contribute to San Diego County's natural vegetation as well -- among them, hollyleaf cherry, choke cherry, desert almond, and desert apricot. The desert apricot, now blooming on the rocky hillsides of the Anza-Borrego Desert, attracts swarms of bees with its sweet-smelling nectar.