Summer has arrived

It’s the first day of summer, the longest day of the year, and I have weather on my mind. My heart goes out to those, including some of my offspring, in areas of the country that have been hit so hard by storms over the last few months and are about to be hit again by another deluge of rain, flooding, hail and/or tornadoes…. and high temperatures.

Lady's Mantle - June 2019

In New Hampshire, we’ve been fortunate. We’ve had plenty of rain accompanying our cool temperatures. Gardens around here can handle what nature has doled out so far.

June 2019

In fact, for ornamental gardeners it’s been amazing to have steady rainfall every couple of days this spring. My favorite garden color green dominates the landscape, from the lime green of Japanese Spikenard ‘Sun King’ and lady’s mantle to the blue green of hostas.  The lushness of the landscape has been fed by our life-giving spring rains and plants from perennials to shrubs to grasses and vines have exploded in growth.

June 2019

Temperatures in New England have been cool but I fear that as soon as the heat of summer hits us, the door will be open for an assortment of bacteria and fungi that thrive in heat and the moisture we’re having. And, for sure, there will be an increase of unwelcome insects… like slugs and worse. Already arriving this week are newly hatched LARGE mosquitoes that chase us indoors at dusk. Sigh….

Aralia 'Sun King' - June 2019

Rain is a welcome treat right now, but too much rain during the summer months can cause plenty of problems for us in the garden. We will simply enjoy it while we can.

Rain Dance

I love a rainy day. Overnight the temperatures dropped and we awoke to a brisk chill in the air and wind blowing rain in sheets across the meadow. It’s the type of weather that makes one want to snuggle beneath the down comforter and just listen to the patter on the roof. The birds were happy, the gardens were happy and later, with a hot mug of java, I was happy to linger at the window and watch the activity at the bird feeders. There will be a slower pace today. No garden chores. No pulling the hose out to water the baby grass or the hydrangea in pots.

By noon, the storm intensified as I bundled up to walk the pooch in the yard. Blooms that stood tall and colorful yesterday, hung low and disheveled in the wind and rain.

The rain came down in buckets for the remainder of the day. Tomorrow may be a day to tidying up in the garden but today was a day to slow down the pace and enjoy the quiet.

It’s so wet that….

….. new zinnias sprouted on top of the spent bloom in a friend’s garden! The tiny new plants can be seen in the center of the photo on the brown flower bloom. We’ve experienced an extremely wet fall. Mushrooms, mold, algae are sprouting everywhere but this is the first time I’ve seen zinnia seeds sprouting before dropping from the bloom. Mother Nature doesn’t plan for it to happen that way.


Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester

Singing in the Rain…

The aftermath of a drenching rain that ends a long period of extreme heat and dry weather is dramatic. One day we can be surrounded by crunchy brown grass and wilted leaves and little movement by animals, then wake the morning following a storm to exuberant changes in nature.  Plants perk up and animals perk up.  It is a healthy reminder how much all life on earth depends on H2O for its very existance.

Our rains came heavy, fast and furious with much thunder and lightning and wind. Umbrellas flew like rockets, inflatable rafts became a part of  the borders, watering cans were blown across the landscape, but we were oblivious to all as we sat at a window and watched in absolute joy.

click to see my freckles...

A stroll through the revived property revealed how quickly living creatures bounce back when water returns. At the pond, fish that have lived at the bottom of the low pond became our little friends again and they introduced us to their babies.  Frogs that we have not seen in weeks made appearances again. Toads lingered in the wet mulch and filled their tummies with insects that are emerging from hiding. And the ground is alive with amphibian youngsters. Watch your step!

Click all photos to enlarge

We sat at the end of the pier in the calm of the early morning today and watched the osprey young who finally learned to fly.  We observed the parents diving for fish, hitting the water, then reappearing with large croaker in talons. Babies who waited in the pines shouted with excitement and hunger. From the end of the pier we enjoyed a pod of porpoise chasing schools of fish up one shoreline, then another, coming within feet from where we watched. Yes, they also brought their babes for us to meet.

Finally, a happy birthday to Les Parks over at Smithfield Nursery. He turned a young 50 yesterday and he wished for this rain for his big day, which he generously shared with us all. What a difference it made.

Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester

Splish Splash. We’re Taking A Bath

Downpours in our area four days ago and an all day soaker today have left Tidewater engorged and the rain has no place to go.  We’ve had flooded roads and full ditches and a washout of our small bridge crossing our natural pond. With freezing rain, wintry mixes and blizzard conditions in other areas of the country, our wet weather is not of interest to anyone but those of us mired in it.  Mister gardener’s fancy dancy weather station does not like the waterlogged weather either.  It is refusing to show us how many inches of rain we’ve accumulated.

Temperatures hovered in the 40’s today and the rain did not let up.  I canceled my Christmas shopping plans and wrapped Christmas gifts all morning, followed by a mid-afternoon beat-the-bounds walk to see how the soggy property was faring.

Even the high and dry field stone path puddled water around my feet

Water streamed off the roof all day onto camellias, laurels and foster hollies

At least the bald cypress is planted in the right place!

Our natural pond spills past the cattails

The only animal I encountered on my wet and wild walk was this Great Blue

Goldfish pond is high and the fish are liking it

The perfect words to describe our weather appeared in cascading water in a drainage ditch today.

There has been no weather alert for flooding and my tiny WeatherBug on my computer has not begun its chirping. All signs point to drying weather and a bit of sunshine tomorrow!  Hurrah.