KC Gardens

So … do you think it will rain?

Rainy landscape.
Rainy landscape.

From Dennis Patton:

Do you think it will rain? Wow! Can you ever remember a May that had so many cloudy, rainy days? Someone the other day said, “Is this Seattle?” Well, we all know that this is Kansas City. And we’ll probably very soon be reminded that we live in the Midwest, and summer can be hot and dry.

I know we seem to be complaining about the rain, but, to quote Martha Stewart, in the big picture of life “it’s a good thing.” I know we are feeling depressed, projects have been delayed and some of our plants have not survived. I know personally I have lost hours of sleep wondering if my sump pump is working. Having water in your basement two years in a row makes you worry about periods of heavy rains. There are only so many more times the carpet can be lifted, dried and stretched.

So what are some of the benefits of this much rain when we look at it from the positive side? Let me just list a few of the things I’ve been thinking about:

▪  Local ponds and streams are full to overflowing. This means there should be ample water supply to get them through the summer.

▪  The subsoil moisture has been replenished. This moisture is important for plants and the soil.

▪  Most water tables have been recharged.

▪  Fewer people are complaining about allergies as the rain has a cleansing effect.

▪  Local lawns have never looked better.

▪  Spring water bills are about the same as winter bills.

▪  Plants in the garden are lush and full.

I am sure you can think of more but these quickly come to mind. As a horticulturist I always recommend that for plants to be happy they need about an inch of water per week. The Kansas City area is lucky that our average yearly rainfall is about 39 inches. If that was spread over the growing season, along with the 12 inches of yearly snowfall, life would be great. I know I would have to drag a lot less hose around.

But unfortunately what is happening is we are seeing more swings. It’s feast or famine. Either it rains for the proverbial 40 days and 40 nights or not at all. It is these periods of extreme moisture followed by drought that is not only hard on us but our plants and gardens. There is not much we can do but to accept the fact that we are not in control of the timing of the rainfall.

I am often asked, what do you think the weather will be? If you follow my writing you already know my response. It’s something along the lines of, “If you think I can predict the weather do you think I would be here?!”

In my mind if I had the ability to predict the weather I’d be so stinking, filthy rich that I would not be working but off gardening somewhere instead. Of course that somewhere would have perfect weather, no insects or disease, and everything I planted would look just like the pictures in the catalogs and Internet. Yep, you’re right. I am dreaming. So just relax and roll with the punches because we know all too well that this too shall soon pass.