If you were given a choice, would you choose “too dry” or “too wet” in the garden?
Is it better to garden around the raindrops, dashing about when the rain finally stops, working in the mud with giant rain-gorged slugs looking over your shoulder?
Or is it better to spend all of one’s time in the garden watering the plants, making potentially landscape-changing decisions when you choose which plants will get water and which will just have to tough it out?
The first answer most of us come up with is probably “neither, give me just enough rain for my region”. But that is not one of the choices today.
Last year, I got rain when I needed rain in my own gardens and will always remember 2006 as a good year for rain.
This year, as most know, here in the midwest of the United States it is “too dry”. Not “full-out drought dry”, yet, just too dry. I’ve had to spend considerable “gardening time” setting up sprinklers and making sure key plants got enough water.
But there are gardeners in places like Texas (of all places!) and Great Britain who are dealing with too much rain, flooding rains in some places.
Unfortunately, we don’t get a choice on the weather, we just have to deal with the weather we get as best we can. As Charles Dudley Warner, author of My Summer in a Garden, the June-July selection of the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club said, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”
For my container plantings, I choose the amount of water they get and for the most part, they get the same amount of water each year because I water them daily, unless it rains that day. The picture above is of my pineapple lily, in a container, well-watered, and starting to bloom.
When it doesn’t rain, I water the vegetable garden once a week with an oscillating sprinkler. I have one that is just the right size to water the whole garden from one place, at one time.
Other plants, like these candy lilies, are right by the patio where I water the containers, so I’ve been watering them fairly often, too.
For other perennials, shrubs, trees, and yes, even the lawn, I water mostly when I see signs of severe wilting or stress due to lack of water, paying closer attention to those perennials that were divided and replanted this spring. I sometimes wonder why I regularly water the plants in containers, when at the end of the year, most of them will end up in the compost bin, and don’t water plants that I expect to return in full glory again next spring.
And everytime I hear the weatherman say that there is rain coming in a few days, I try to hold off watering, hoping that the upcoming rain will be the rain that catches us up to more normal amounts of rainfall. So far, they haven’t caught us up, but there is always that next cloud coming from the west that might!
So, back to the original question, if you could choose to do something about the weather, and the two choices were “too wet” or “too dry”, which would you choose?