The weatherman said this morning that we have had at least some rain on 16 of the 20 days of May so far. I thought he sounded a bit too excited about this. And then the newscasters and the weatherman chattered back and forth about the challenge of finding periods of time with no rain when it is dry enough to the mow the lawns. The lawns are growing fast with all the rain and I’ve been mowing mine twice a week.
And last year at this time we were hearing whispers of drought.
I’d rather have the rain.
But the good news for gardeners and everyone else around central Indiana is that we should have a dry Memorial Day holiday weekend, at least through Sunday, which is all the weathermen will say right now.
That would be nice because we like for all the thousands of people who come to Indianapolis for the race on Sunday to enjoy perfect weather and leave with the impression that Indianapolis is a great place… because it is.
Though I might talk about the weather, even whine a bit about it, I’ve learned that one of the secrets to being a happier gardener is to embrace your weather, because we can’t change the weather where we are, whatever it is. It is what it is. It will change when it wants to. Once we accept that, we can move on to more important things like learning how to garden with the weather we have.
Some suggestions for embracing your weather:
Choose plants that are hardy in your climate. It’s a lot of work to protect plants that aren’t quite hardy enough for your climate and it can be heartbreaking and wallet-breaking to lose such a plant when you forget to protect it from your normal weather.
Choose plants that can live with the amount of rain you are likely to get. Sometimes supplemental watering is needed in any garden, but it is best to avoid those plants that rely on it for survival.
Don’t push the seasons. If you live where there is winter and spring frosts, figure out when your frost-free date generally is and wait until after that date to plant frost tender annuals and vegetable plants. I consider my frost free date to be May 10th, but I have experienced frost as late as May 25th. I know from experience that people are more likely to forgive you for wearing white before Memorial Day than frost-tender plants are likely to forgive you for planting them when you can still have a frost.
Don’t wait around for bad weather. Some gardeners let the threat of bad weather keep them from going out and working in the garden. Stop waiting. That’s a good way to lose valuable time to work in the garden. With today’s weather radar technology, we can get a pretty good idea of when it might start raining, so unless it is actually raining, get out there and get to work. You’ll get a lot done.
Celebrate the rain. Even in the desert, rain is needed at some point for plants to live. I personally would prefer too much rain, short of flooding, than having to deal with the slow death of plants due to drought. I try not to complain about the rain.
Realize that no one’s weather is perfect. Every gardener deals with weather issues… hot, dry, wet, cold, snow, ice, hail, winds, it’s always something. If you really can’t stand the weather where you garden, consider moving, but remember you are probably just trading one weather problem for another.
So embrace whatever weather you have and work with it in your garden. You’ll have a happier life for doing so, at least in your garden.