Friday, 15 July 2016


All gardeners welcome rain, as long as it is in the right proportions. We want rain every few days - not a drought followed by a flood. And we want a spell of steady but gentle rain that goes on long enough to properly wet the soil and get down to root-level, not just drizzle that barely moistens the plant foliage. Rain at night-time is good too, so that it doesn't spoil our lovely sunny days. Sunny days? What are those? Just recently we have had precious little sunshine, but lots of very heavy rain; and I mean heavy rain. Much heavier than we are used to here in so-called "temperate" Britain. Damaging rain.

On Monday this week we had rain that was unbelievably heavy, and it went on for ages - definitely not just a shower. We were out at the time, attending a meeting about half a mile from home, and had chosen to walk. Big mistake! We had to delay our return home until the rain had eased, and then make a dash for it. Even then we had to dive into a bus-shelter for a few minutes to avoid a drenching. I was worried about what the garden would look like...

Some of the remaining Broad Bean plants had been knocked over, though I wasn't too upset by this, since I had been meaning to pick the last few pods anyway and then cut down the plants.

However I had lots of little potted plants on the garden table, and many of those had been severely battered, like this Greek Cress. It was flattened, but I think it will recover.

Of more serious concern were the tiny Lettuce plants, which are much more delicate. Their leaves were severely bruised by the heavy raindrops.

The bush tomatoes, straggly at the best of times, are now very "flopped"!

My Hydrangea plant is covered with blooms at present, and of course they filled up with water and bent right over:

I consider myself fortunate that very little was damaged beyond repair, but I must say I was surprised by this.

After heavy rain it is a good idea to help your plants recover by very gently shaking them to try to lose some of the water in / on their flowers and foliage. Something else I usually do is fill up all available watering-cans. My water-butt was overflowing as rain from the roof and gutters continued to drain away, so I filled the cans to store the water for later use.

I know that the UK is not unique in this, but our weather patterns have definitely changed over the last couple of decades. We have many more "Severe Weather Events" than we used to have, and they are more severe. I'm also conscious that our current spate of mild, damp and humid days are perfect conditions for the development of fungal diseases, like Blight, which don't thrive in hot dry air.

I suppose I ought not to complain too much, because we are better off than many parts of the world. We haven't had any flooding (other than some massive puddles caused by blocked drains or something) and we haven't had a drought. But I am still not happy. What I want is some proper Summer weather with the occasional refreshing spell of that gentle rain. Gardeners are hard to please, eh?


  1. It wouldn't be so bad if we knew when the rain was coming so that we could protect our tender plants when we're not going to be at home, but the forecasts are wrong more times than they're right. Guess what, it's raining again here. It doesn't look like we're going to get any decent summer weather this year.

  2. ...although yesterday and today have been sunny ...we mostly have only had fog . I think "they are forecasting thundery showers Sunday afternoon here . We really need it ! But your veggies are really coming along now Mark , yep , looking good there :)

  3. We always watch country file as the weather forecast on that is normally pretty good but not this week, it couldn't have been more wrong. Our veg is fine, but the flower garden has taken a real battering just as the agricultural show is coming up, I'm not too sure what I'm going to have to show flower wise. Strawberries have also suffered.

  4. We have certainly had more than our fair share of rain this year haven't we? But we haven't had out for fair share of sunshine to go with it.

  5. I'm always disappointed with heavy rain, knocks over too much but I'm a bit more organised on that front this year. Managed to stake a lot with canes. My gripe is the general lack of rain in Lincolnshire. There's never enough to keep my water butts topped up. 5 or 6 times this year I've had to top them up with a hose pipe and my pond evaporates at about 15mm per partly sunny day and needs topping up. I guess the rail companies would call it the wrong type of rain.

  6. I remember two perfect gardening years in the last 15. One when it rained almost every night and was sunny every day and the other where it rained every day but only for about an hour and a bit of a downpour at that. Those years are so rare. I have to say, as a gardener, the best feeling in the world is waking up to a gentle steady rain after a dry spell and knowing you don't have to get up early and water.

    Here in New York we are entering a moderate drought. However, as I always say - I can buy water. I cannot buy sunshine.


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