Happiness reigns because it is raining at last in the garden and the topic on everyone’s lips in the country this week will be “How much rain did you get?” Unseasonal rain sounds like music. There’s no angst about it because crops are harvested, so it’s all about filling water tanks and dams or watering the garden. But not too much right?
Waking in the night and hearing the rain falling on the roof and garden is a joy because it’s like knowing tomorrow you have an extra hand in the garden in the form of watering just for you. Now it’s relaxation time knowing that a bit of rain is worth much more than days of watering by the garden hose.
The distinctive smell of the first drop of rain on the dusty ground was a few days ago, and all we got was Irish drizzle ever since. It does little to moisten plants so is very disappointing. At last, it came, the expected rain that according to the weather experts was due yesterday, backed up by the ants in the kitchen, the barometer dropping and the kookaburras. This is ‘proper’ rain falling with a heavy, beautiful sound, steady and full—a welcome change and gladly received.
The last few days I’ve watched and listened for rain not daring to look at times and also confused because one does not know whether to give up the wait, ignore the weather experts again, or go ahead and water the parched plants or not.
Rain is a refreshing relief after weeks of intense heat for the garden, and for me because now I can easily pull weeds from the soil and repair the garden after the scorching days of intense sun. Usually there is very little to be done other than deadheading and watering, or keeping the eco seaweed up, in mid-summer. It is just too hot unless there are welcome days like this of cloud and rain that will drop the temperature momentarily, or enough to get a few tasks done- very encouraging.
Few flowers are out at present in my garden so the rain will not spoil many blooms and I look forward to a revival of new colours out in a few weeks. In this region, the roses will bloom after the heat of summer until well into May, and this is by far the best flowering season apart from the first flush of spring.
Like most gardeners, plans are underway in my mind, for the redesign and new improvements to the rose garden for the next season. I have not reached the stage where one area of the garden blooms and is hastily followed by another mainly due to roses’ predominance. Although I have chosen roses, they limit the garden bloom span because of a long winter-bare dormancy and summer periods without blooms, especially the old fashioned roses that bloom only once a season.
And so the rain continues as I write. I feel slightly remiss at not having any faith in the weather experts who predicted rain but here it is at last. Not nearly such a relief as during last years drought but a very happy occurrence indeed. I realise from family and friends that the city has already had their fair share of summer rain this year that empties the beaches and interrupts summer holidays. Once over the mountains, rain takes on a different perspective for those that live, garden or farm in regional areas.
Now that harvest is behind us the threat of rain at the wrong time that may have ruined a good crop has passed. Rain at this time of year comes without anxiety, so we don’t hear the conversations in town like at the start of summer “Did you get any rain? It’s a good start. Just need a bit more at the right time.”
Rain is welcome; tops up the dams; brings fresh feed up for sheep and cattle; waters the garden, softens the soil. The only downside on farms and in the garden are weeds as rain brings up the weeds as well – always something isn’t there?
Water is precious. Rain is the basis of life in the country. It’s gold. Some regional towns rely on tourism, a University or large schools for economic stability or their art and craft movements or historical aspects. In contrast, our local town is 100% a farming service town, so rain is vitally important. Farmers live on hope for rain at the right time. All it takes is for the rain to come at the wrong time, too much, too little or for frost to bite too early and any promise of success is gone.
I’ve just seized the day and gone out in between showers hoping there are more to come, spread fertilizer, deadheaded roses and fortunately, it has paid off because it is now raining again soaking it in. So come rain or shine I’ll be out there again tomorrow for more.
Content Di Baker 2021 Images as cited with garden roses and header image Di Baker