Memorial Weekend in America is the unofficial start to summer. We look forward to remembering our brave veterans by getting together with family and friends, firing up the barbecue grill, and celebrating in our backyards. In the Poconos, frosts are usually over before this date; therefore, I also finish planting the vegetable garden and numerous pots of flowers in the few days before the celebration. This year, the planting is not happening. There has been a deluge of rain for the past two days.
Water, of course, is essential to all life, and our gardens need it for healthy plant development. For the uninitiated I can explain: water enters a plant's stem and travels up to its leaves, where photosynthesis occurs. Photosynthesis is how plants manufacture food in the form of sugar. Too much water, however, injures plants, compacts the soil, and leads to erosion. Root loss occurs, and the plant fails to grow. Wetness causes fungal diseases such as powdery mildew. Extreme summer rain can leach nitrogen out of the soil; nitrogen is vital for photosynthesis.
I'm looking through the window, observing these negative effects--I'm sure my plants are screaming for help, except for the weeds, of course. The good news is there are ways to minimize weather outcomes. Enjoy my pictures, then read my six suggestions. I am so happy that I toured the garden before the rain started and took photos.
|The Entry Garden: Alliums rule.|
|The Front of the House: Left: the azalea before the rain. Top right: annuals waiting to be planted in the stone garden - it will be white this year. Bottom right: Into the Serenity Garden.|
|The Serenity Garden: Ferns exploded with the rain.|
|Bluebells and Ferns in the Woodland Walk|
|Froggy Pond and Cottage Garden: white vibernum behind the fence, red twig dogwood blooming, and more allium.|
|Forget me nots at the edge of the Cottage Garden|
|The Kitchen Garden: I finished the planting before the storm, but will seeds germinate? Broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, and kale are doing well in the cold frame. The insect netting prevents the cabbage white butterfly from laying eggs on the vegetables. |
|The Herb Trugs: The new trug was a Mother's Day gift. It has flowering herbs; the old trug is planted with herbs from the Bible. Victor will paint the new one to match the otherl|
Ways to deal with too much rain:
- Select native plants. Native plants often fare best as they adapt to local conditions.
- Choose plants that are more resistant to fungal disease and pests. This information will be on the label. Maintain space around your plants to create good air circulation.
- Make wise choices when buying trees and shrubs. Don't choose trees with inherent weak wood or shallow roots such as willows (Salix spp.) Willow is a fast-growing but weak-wooded tree very susceptible to damage in storms.
- Create some raised beds. I find they provide better drainage than conventional beds during heavy rainstorms.
- Amend your soil with organic material to help with drainage.
- Create a rain garden to soak up rainwater runoff
|Some of my native shrubs and trees are blooming: ninebark, a pink vibernum, and black cherry.|
|A wise choice of tree for a wet area--my dawn redwood is thriving in this spot in the Serenity Garden,|
|The rain garden captures runoff water. It is full this morning.|
A new project this year is the meadow garden. I sowed wild flower seeds in early May. Torrential rain followed and mainly weeds have germinated. I am waiting to see if any flowers emerge. The used gazebo I bought with my birthday money is coming along nicely with a new roof and new benches inside. A fresh coat of paint will complete it.
|Meadow Garden with weeds, gazebo, and stone cairn.|
I am finishing this posting the day before Memorial Day. The rain has stopped. The garden is too wet for planting but I can work on my pots with dry potting soil. Tomorrow's weather looks promising for the festivities, so we will be able to fire up the grill after all.
Happy Memorial Day,
|Seedlings waiting for the soil to dry|
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