The problem with Rain

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Mother nature is an unreliable garden sitter. You would think she would have a vested interest in helping to keep my precious plants alive, but, No! This week there was a 60% chance of rain every single day, or higher. And I mistakenly calculated that this meant I could slack off on my watering duties.

Throughout the summer I adjust my watering routine based on the summer weather. If it is somewhat temperate, (80 degree days, or partly cloudy) I water moderately – every other night or even every third. If it is terribly hot, humid or oppressively sunny, I water a bit every night and heavily twice a week or so. if it rains one day, I count that as a free watering session by mother nature and skip it.

But this summer I got overconfident. The combination of my water barrel’s presence, and my selection of a number of drought-tolerant plants made me a little lazy about watering. I started going every other day most days, and even more when it was cool. I was impressed at “my skill” in achieving such a state of relaxation with my plants.

I should have known better. Basically, I think I was keeping them all in a perpetual state of thirst, and only satiating them – not sustaining them.

This week it was supposed to rain according to the weather.com guys. I skipped watering two days in a row expecting it to rain the next day. When it didn’t I gave everything a bit of water, expecting more that surely the next….. and by Friday, I had an entire garden that was drooping and dying.

I lost a couple plants. The most heartbreaking was our ground cover in a planter on a chimney. It is gone, I fear. I have no idea if the roots have clung to life, but the tops are dead. I lost a couple lilies. And my tomato plants dropped more stems than I could count.

Lesson learned. You can’t count on mother nature or weather.com.

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Mother nature may fill your rain barrel, but she is unreliable at filling your spot as caretaker of your garden. Hope for rain, but if it doesn’t come, provide it yourself.

I did what I could. If you ever face some similarly sad situation, you can try this too. I watered everything thoroughly, applied a layer of mulch on everything that didn’t have it, and moved the ones that were wilted, but not dead, into the shade for some rest and (hopefully) recuperation.

We’ll see what comes back! I will, dear readers, even if they don’t.

1 Comment

  1. I share your agony with depending on forecasted rain. We’ve gone weeks in Upstate N.Y. with 30% chance of rain every day and it never rains. I’ve learned to just water everything in the morning regardless of the weather forecast. Thanks for the post…….John

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