Reasons to be cheerful (Part one)

by James Alexander-Sinclair

I feel the time has come to point out the few cheering things that have come about as a result of the rain...

Tatton Park Flower Show in the rainGardeners (like opposition politicians) quite enjoy a bit of a moan. In the case of politicians then almost any excuse will do: for gardeners it is usually the weather. It's seldom perfect and in recent weeks all of us have had more rain than is strictly necessary. I am writing this while outside the Tatton Park Flower Show, sluiced with yet another torrential downpour.

But rather than whinge I feel the time has come to point out the few cheering things that have come about as a result of the rain (apologies to all those people standing ankle deep in post-flood sludge who probably don't need a smarty-pants pointing at the silver-lining).

Lawns - because it has been well-nigh impossible to get the mower out of the shed, grass has grown much longer than would normally be permitted. Instead of a close-mown lawn I have ended up with a much softer, rather shaggy sort of arrangement. Different grasses, flowering weeds and even a small spinney of suckering Coyote willow (Salix exigua - which, while we are passing, is an extraordinarily lovely tall shrub: similar in temperament and style to Katherine Hepburn in a good mood). The lawn therefore, is interesting, ticks some environmental boxes and has saved a lot of tedious marching up and down. (Although I have to admit that it looks better mown.)

Large-leaved plants - by this time last year many larger-leaved plants were looking as if they had just spent a week pursuing the Foreign Legion across a particularly tricky bit of the sahara. This year rodgersias and ligularias have retained their teenage complexions.

Europe - most of the rest of the continent is frying. I bet the gardeners in Spain or Italy would give almost anything for a rainy day.

Not much to celebrate, but something...

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Gardeners' World Web User 28/07/2007 at 19:36

We've not had to top up our ponds, planting can still continue, fucshias are flourishing, weeds come up easily when pulled, ferns are growing well and all those newly planted spring plants do not need watering in. Just a few more to add to your list. Enjoy your 'summer'.

Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2011 at 18:29

James, my hubby and I are grateful to the wet weather. You see, over the past 2 years we've planted 2500 native British trees to create a woodland that will draw wildlife as well as beautify our environment. The rain we've had has made all of our saplings take off running, so to speak! Even those planted as late as February of this year.

Our gain is another's loss and to those who have been affected by the flooding, loss of property and in some cases, loss of life; I send my deepest sympathies. We shall help where ever we can, as I'm sure others across the nation will do their best to help.