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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Embrace Your Weather For A Happier Life

Threatening skies over my garden this evening.

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.

Prickly pear cactus is hardy in Zone 5!


Because we have cold winters, we get to have lilacs!


Embrace your weather for a happier life.


Related posts: embrace insects for a happier life and embrace weeding for a happier life

17 comments:

Kathy said...

More good advice, and for the most part, I try to follow it. The biggest trouble I have found with mail ordering plants is they usually come before my frost free date, and they are usually green house grown, or at least, not expecting frost. So I have to baby them that first spring. But after that, they have to take what my climate dishes out.

Ether said...

So, I'm dealing with an unseasonable cold snap. Not frost cold, but in the 50's. Things are very slow to come up. Spinach and carrots and lettuce are not sprouting as they should be, despite plenty of rain. Makes me very sad and impatient.

Dave said...

I wish we had some of your rain down here! The forecasters keep saying that we'll have thundershowers but when the time comes the sky is sunny and clear. I'm having to water more than I'd like to this early but most of the plants are young ones.

Kristy "Greenthumb" Guthrie said...

Carol--I finally got my pics from last week up! Here is my link to Bloom Day: http://intheweedswithguthrie.blogspot.com/2008/05/bloom-day-i-missed.html.

I'm ready for warmer weather--I'm done embracing this rain. :)

Robin's Nesting Place said...

It's been much easier being sick since our weather has been so cool and rainy. I'm very glad that we're off to a better start than last year. Hopefully, we haven't gotten all of the rain for the summer in one month.

Debbie said...

Wow, Carol, embrace weeding and now the weather. You are really expecting a lot from us.

Pam/Digging said...

I like to think that the tradeoff for Austin's summer is our wonderful fall, winter, and spring during the other 6 months of the year. It's pretty easy to embrace our weather at this early stage of the summer. By August, though, you'll hear some whining from the Texas contingent. I will try very hard to remind myself of your advice at that time. Embrace, embrace!

Colleen said...

Great advice, as always, Carol. I am guilty of spending too much time wishing the weather was different--when it's hot, I wish it were cooler, when it's cool, I wish it were warmer, and when it's rainy, I wish it would stop LOL. It's much more pleasant when I'm able to just get over it and enjoy whatever weather is being thrown at us. Even if it is keeping my tomatoes inside for yet another day...

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

Send Austin some 50 degree days and rain and I'll embrace them. I'm much more of a Dylan Thomas type, and will continue to "rage, rage against" the 100 degree days and the dying of the garden light.

Anthony said...

I actually cheer when it rains because it means that I don't have to drag the hoses out to water all the new plants and shrubs that I'm always planting. Don't think I'm too likely to embrace a drought though. Thankfully, it's been a while since NJ was lite on rain.

Gail said...

We have had a really lovely spring,and I have embraced it over and over again....the dry summer is beginning sooner than we want it to, even my Glade plants are thirsty. We need rain...a 50 foot hose is heavy...a cistern is needed. I can embrace a cistern, affording one is a different story!

Anonymous said...

Good Motto to follow, reminds me of a jingle

"We must weather the weather, Whatever the Weather, Whether We Like it or Not."
Susie

ricki said...

Big arms and a bigger heart have been necessary in Portland OR of late if we hope to embrace our weather: cold, heat wave (97!), cold again. I spent the hot days working in the woodland, scooting around on my butt and weeding...then hit the Goodwill store for a slicker so the rains wouldn't keep me from enjoying the cool days (perfect for digging and other high-energy pursuits). Loved the quote about "weathering the weather".

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I actually like to garden in the rain (if there's no thunder or lightning). It's a great time to tranplant things & pull weeds. But I have a hard time embracing drought. I can look on the bright side & appreciate fewer mosquitos, but it's so hard not to whine when your arms are sore from hauling the bucket of shower water out to the garden every morning.

Zoey said...

Hi Carol,

I embraced my weather today.

It's 42 degrees and raining.

Instead of complaining when I got home from work, I jumped into my jammies and plopped down at the computer to read blogs. I have not had an ounce of guilt about not working outside.

It's been great!

Nancy said...

I'm embracing my weather by doing any and all gardening late in the day, after the worst of the heat has passed.

Heat?!? you say?

the last two day's we've had record highs. 94 degrees F...feels like at least 100. It ain't purty.

Layanee said...

How right you are! We have had a cool spring so far and it is so much easier to work in the garden hauling plants, mulch and compost when the weather is a bit cooler.