Thursday, July 4, 2013

Rain: Go Away!

Yesterday afternoon, another overcast day, found me again on the front porch messing
about with my plants.
The largest rosemary now has a deep new pot.  All three rosemarys had pushed their  roots down to the bottoms of their containers and made those matted clumps which can't be unraveled and must be gently removed.  With the soil left in the sack which I purchased on Sunday, I potted on tiny lavender seedlings.

I don't know that I needed more lavender plants--although I did lose one in the herb garden, presumably to late winter damp and chill.
I attempted growing lavender from seed years ago in Vermont.  Usually the germination was poor, although I did once achieve nearly a dozen plants of Lavender, Lady.
Last spring I had lavenders to tuck in the herb garden and several to give away.
In the April exuberance of stopping by a rack of seed packets I purchased lavender seeds which came mixed with a starting medium, the plan being that one dumped the whole on top of a pot of soil.
I did just that, and suspect that every seed 'took.'
I now have more than two dozen lavender seedlings growing on in an assortment of recycled plastic pots.
[And I steeled myself to toss out half a dozen that were spindly!]
Above you can see two flourishing rosemarys that I started from seed in 2012 and wintered under a flourescent light in the basement.

Two small achillea need a home somewhere in the garden.
The nasturtiums aren't looking hardy--some voracious bug chomped them nearly to death before I bought a new shaker of rotenone to drive them away.
I plonked a few of my remaining signet marigolds in pots, then traipsed out to the clothesline flower strip to pull up encroaching grass and distribute the remaining marigolds along the front edge, pulling out the dried stems of poppies to make room.
I inched my way around one long and one short side of the small plot before sprinkles of rain began to spatter. Casting a baleful eye on the sky I yanked out several large grass clumps on the far side of the patch before deciding that I didn't wish to be rained upon.

We woke to rain and to evidence that rain had fallen during most of the night.
The boy cats insisted on charging outside as usual, milling about in the wet yard and returning, sodden-furred, to collapse on the nearest bed.
Edward landed damply on my lap, purring winsomely.
I patted him, which encouraged him to climb onto the desk where he stomped, purring, in front of the computer screen.
My services were commandeered by J. who wanted an assortment of items posted on craigslist.
I complain when asked to do this, as craigslist is terribly balky, 'timing out' when the photos are meant to be loading. The system was especially slow and irritating today, making it necessary to reattempt loading the photos several times.

Flowers hang heavy with rain.
Puddles stand in the driveway and in the back yard.
J.'s rain gauge shows a fall of about 2 inches since last evening with more rain in the forecast for at least three days to come.

J. ventured out to inspect the garden and snatch a handful of green beans, a crisp green pepper and several cucumbers.
I went downstairs, thinking that a bit of fire wouldn't go amiss to thwart the damp chill
seeping into the house.
This lead to the not surprising discovery that the drain in the outside basement stairwell was clogged and water running over the floor in the back hallway of the basement.
J. used plunger and rods to lift out the usual leaves and such which manage to get through the drain cover.
I made soup--an unusual meal for the 4th of July!
There has been no hint of sunshine, just green darkness.
I try not to think of the winter wheat standing in the squelching field--grain that was ready for the combine two weeks ago--our cash crop for this season.
We lease our large north field to a local crop farmer on shares--the wet summer has delayed the planting of soybeans, the harvest of wheat, the fertilizing of corn which stands yellowing in the wet in fields around the county.
J. quoted grimly this morning the old adage, "A dry year will scare you to death and a wet year will starve you to death!"

Matilda the Flying Pig [an anniversary gift from friends] stands guard on her metal stake, overloking the herb plot.
I've dashed out with debris for the garbage heap, dumped tins in the recycling bin.
I've put a load of laundry through the washer and dryer, knowing that a 'drying day' is not in the forecast.
I've made a mug of green tea to fortify myself.
Time to tip Edward's black and white furry bulk from my lap and trudge downstairs
to my sewing machine.
I can always make quilts when it is too wet to tend the garden.


  1. I love that passing comment: "I can always make quilts when it is too wet to tend the garden." I must remember that . . .

    I love Mathilda the Flying Pig (could do with a Mathilda moment around here over the house selling!)

    Meanwhile rain . . . Ah yes. We are supposed to be having a heat wave, but here in Wales we have . . . rain. Not as "wet" as your rain, but annoying all the same. The paddock was cut in the rain of yesterday morning, but I didn't care about that - we just wanted it cut. Dock the size of Triffids is NOT a good selling point . . .

    At least you know you can grow Lavender now. Perhaps you should give the spare ones to your Amish neighbour to put in the next Amish auction. We used to go to a produce auction in Wareham when we lived in Dorset. It is SUCH a good way to get rid of the glut of produce . . .

    I hope J's items on Craigslist all sold well.

    1. Jennie; Weeds like dock or thistle which grow so sturdily are the bane of trying to make a yard look presentable. Weeds are rampant here with all the rain--growing so fast that the stems are watery and floppy.
      Re the lavender: I've given some thought to growing potted herbs for the local Farmers' Market. I think the long-promised--still non-existant greenhouse would be key to having them grown on to a sturdy size early in the season.
      The craigslist ads prompted a spate of inquiries by phone; no one has beaten down the back door, cash in hand!

  2. Oh I so love your Flying Pig ... so perfectly sited on that gate. xx

    1. Angie; Every gardener who has set eyes on Matilda the Flying Pig has coveted her. Some clever crafting there!
      Actually, that's a part of the cat yard fence in the background. I used the zoom feature on the camera rather than wade into the wet herbs--the zoom tends to foreshorten views. Its a bit like the reverse of the stickers on car mirrors which warn that objects seen in the mirror are closer than they appear--the zoom pulls more distant structures in too close!

  3. We are definitely in the heatwave now in Devon. Too much for me. the English are never happy with the weather! I do envy you growing lavender; I just can't do it up here in this garden. Too much shade and just too cold in winter. I buy a rosemary every year too and every year it dies. We brought it in last winter and it STILL died!

    1. Em; We greeted this spell of cool wet weather with some enthusiasm--as our three summers in Kentucky have been VERY HOT by mid June. We are feeling quite OVER the rain at this point as we watch dooryard and gardens turning into a swamp.
      I do think rosemary is a finicky plant--I've lost a number of them over the years. They can't bear to dry out, but turn sickly if too wet. The best defense I've found is to make a 'gritty' soil mix for them--regular bagged potting soil is too dense. I stir in either perlite or coarse sand [my preference] to make a 3-1 balance of the potting soil with the sand so it doesn't compact as much in the pot.