Rain is a magical thing when it comes to gardens. In my experience, hours of work with a hose pipe or watering can will keep your plants healthy and growing but you can’t replicate the response you get following a good downpour. Plants obviously play favourites and there is something about rain that causes the most startling transformation from a green garden to a GREEN garden. Oh and let’s not ignore the inches of growth they seem to put on following a lengthy bout of rain, growth not even the most effective of plant foods can generate.
Rain is definitely magical when it comes to gardens!
With the exception of the very occasional cloud burst, lasting for no more than a few minutes at a time, we hadn’t had rain for close on a couple of weeks until Thursday. It had been promised (or threatened depending on your view point) but Wednesday evening saw me out with the soaker hose, hosepipe and watering can, giving everything a drink as, once again, the rain hadn’t arrived. My garden was looking green and everything was growing well enough, as I walked around my beds making sure everything had had some water.
Thursday morning dawned dull and very, very wet, with torrential rain hammering at the windows and I have to admit that I didn’t venture down to the vegetable patch that day, preferring instead to either knit some more of Eldest Mudlets top or share a cuddle with my poorly but recovering Middle Mudlet. The garden could fend for itself.
We were due to have rain and thunder storms throughout yesterday (Friday) but neither materialised and I eventually wondered down to the vegetable patch to see how everything was doing and to water the occupants of the greenhouses. What a transformation! The sweetcorn had literally put on inches of growth in height and even the girth of the smallest plants was noticeably larger and as for the colour – they were a much more vibrant green, as were the strawberries plants, potatoes, the squash plants and the beans.
In the little greenhouse, the last of the sweetcorn and runner beans were desperately in need of planting out and with the ground still damp from the previous day, I decided to spend an hour getting them planted out. This now means that the little greenhouse can be cleaned ready for the tomatoes and cucumbers to take up residency, although I need to get some growbags first and maybe some growrings which, by all accounts, are perfect for tomatoes and cucumbers, helping prevent pest and diseases from damaging roots, leaves and stems.
With the help of Little Mudlet, the bean plants (which were taller than her) were soon planted out against the bamboo supports and I noticed the first signs of flowers hidden amongst their leaves. The last of the sweet corn have now been slotted into gaps in the planting and look tiny compared to their rain soaked companions but the whole sweet corn planting looks much, much healthier than last year and with 34 plants, come the summer we should, for the first time in three years, be enjoying freshly harvested cobs for a few weeks. Homegrown sweet corn is definitely one of those crops that once tasted will stop you from ever buying shop bought cobs again: there is simply no comparisson.
Okay, now a few posts back you may recall that I had spent a good few hours trimming and repotting our 118 strawberry plants, a fact which had elicited from Middle Mudlet, the comment that didn’t I think that we maybe had too many strawberry plants? She also worked out, that if we kept a runner from each plant then next year we’d have 236 plants in the garden! The post also generated comments regarding the setting up of my own strawberry jam factory etc.
So you would think, that when Eldest Mudlet phoned the other week with the offer from one of her work colleagues of yet more strawberry plants, I would say something along the lines of “Sorry, no room at the Inn!” Apparently, the colleague had just moved house and had found a number of strawberry plants in the garden and she didn’t want them. However, knowing from Eldest Mudlet that I grow vegetables, she offered me the plants. Well I couldn’t turn a blind eye to some soon to be homeless strawberry plants and so last week Eldest Mudlet brought me a further 9 plants to add to my collection which brings the total to 127!
I’ve kept these plants away from mine this week, in case they were harbouring some unwanted guests but they really are a healthy looking group and are already flowering and fruiting. As with my own plants, I have no idea what variety they are but who cares …… they’re going to swell our strawberry numbers and that, at the end of the day, is all that really matters.
Green isn’t the only colour in the garden right now and the vegetables aren’t the only plants making a statement. In the beds near the back door three of Muds favourite plants are putting on a bit of a show for us right now:
the Hosta hasn’t looked this good for years due, I am sure, to the fact that the hot dry spell we have had in the last couple of weeks has dissuaded the slug army from putting in an appearance. It would be nice to see the flowers this year and so I will be keeping an eye on the slug situation;
the Ferns are also looking spectacular this year including this particular specimen which loves its shady position beside the workshop, with a purple flowered Vinca at its’ feet and a variegated Holly bush by its’ side; and
then we have this truly stunning looking iris which only ever seems to flower every other year or so, although, that said, it has been three years since we have seen its’ face.
Across the garden is this bush which I believe is called Pieris ‘Forest Flame’. The topmost leaves are a beautiful red colour and look gorgeous against the green lower leaves and, in our garden, they are also against the back drop of the black leafed Japanese Maple.
One last flower to share with you is this one which I grew from seed a couple of years ago but the name for which escapes me. The flower head is some 3 inches across and there are more coming up behind it, so we will be enjoying the cheery yellow blooms for a while yet.